I recall several times throughout my life where I was told to stand up straight, to pull my shoulders back, not to slouch forward like I was apparently doing – unknowingly of course. Maybe you’ve heard that before as well? I remember feeling ever so slightly offended every time I heard those words, because in my head I was standing tall and straight as a die!
The truth is, I probably didn’t have the best posture. Most people don’t. However, I’m sure we can all agree that good posture is a good thing to have. Not only is it more attractive than slouching, it makes you seem taller (which I definitely welcome!) and it exudes confidence! But did you know that good posture is also important to balance? When you’re standing up straight, you centre your weight over your feet. This also helps you maintain correct form while exercising, reducing the chance of injuries. Improving your balance could also strengthen your abilities in all kinds of sports and activities, such as dancing, skiing, running, golf and tennis.
The problem is, poor posture isn’t necessarily a choice or a bad habit…There are many physical contributions, such as:
– Distorted spinal curves
As you might know, an upright spine isn’t straight. There are three important spinal curves, one in the neck, one in the upper-midback and one in the lower back. When any of these curves are distorted, it could lead to, not only poor posture, but also any number of symptoms, such as headaches, back pain and muscle tension.
– Inflexible muscles
Inflexible muscles can decrease joints’ range of motion. For example, if you have overlytight chest muscles, it can pull your shoulders forward, or if you have overly tight hipmuscles, it could pull your upper body forward¹.
– Muscle strength
We all know the importance of core strength. The core muscles of the back, side, pelvis,and buttocks form a sturdy link between the upper and lower body. When these muscles
are weak, it could encourage slumping, which tips your body forward and thus offbalance².
There are, of course, many other causes of poor posture. Research shows that up to 90 per cent of people have poor posture². But why is poor posture regarded as such a bad thing? When you are slouched for an extended period of time, it puts extra pressure on the spine. This could lead to a number of unwanted symptoms such as muscle tension and soreness, back pain, fatigue and headaches. But what most people don’t know is, it affects us in a much deeper way than just symptoms! When pressure is put on the spine it influences the nerve system, which significantly impacts how we operate from day to day, as well as our overall health – from our wellbeing and mood to the ability to concentrate.
The good news is that most postural problems can be helped and sometimes even be reversed! Chiropractors are experts in the care of the spine and nerve system. They are able to identify any underlying root causes of postural problems and can help you to address lifestyle habits that may initiate or aggravate postural issues. They believe a healthy spine and nerve system means a happier and healthier life! It is a wise choice to have yourself, and your family, assessed – the sooner the better.