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Posted on 03-09-2015

Every time your mom nagged you about sitting up straight, she probably never gave you what sounded like a good reason other than, “Because I said so.” Throughout adulthood, we are regularly reminded that good posture makes a big difference in our appearance. Yet practicing good posture comes with far more benefits than looking attractive and empowered. In fact, you are unlikely to enjoy optimal health if you suffer from chronic poor posture.

Most people don’t remember how or when poor posture habits began. Was it sleeping with unsupportive pillows and/or mattresses? Could it have been a result of “texter’s” neck… or an old sports injury?

Once the body adjusts to long-term bad habits, it will be more comfortable to slouch. Just know that comfort for the sake of comfort, can take a toll on well-being in a multitude of ways.

What causes bad posture?
Understanding the cause of poor posture will help nudge you toward positive changes. Do any of the following sound familiar?

  • Incorrect chair height and computer-screen positioning at your desk (have your workplace host a Korwitts Chiropractic Ergonomic Lunch & Learn whereby employees’ posture is evaluated at individual work stations)
  • Little to no activity (the more you sit, the more you will tend to slump)
  • Poor sleep support from your mattress (here’s a good article on choosing the right mattress)
  • Accidents, injuries, and falls (after an accident, always see your chiropractor -even if there is no pain)
  • Improper shoes (you may want to rethink your shoe choice to be sure your feet are supported for a balanced gait – custom orthotics could be a huge help)
  • Weak muscles (also associated with lack of activity)
  • Working in a bent-over position for more than two hours a day
  • Fatigue/lack of rest
  • Poor eyesight (might cause you to lean forward in order to read or see)
  • Excessive use of technology (looking down at your phone, tablet, or laptop for extended periods of time)

How does bad posture make you feel?
There are many aches, pains, and health issues that can be traced to poor posture. If you’ve been suffering from one or more of the following symptoms and haven’t considered posture as the cause, consider getting a posture analysis from your chiropractor.

Low back pain
It’s a proven fact that back pain can result from full workdays spent at a desk or in front of a computer. Chest muscles tighten and the back forms a “c” shape at the top of the spinal column. Before long, back muscles chronically weaken.

Reduced lung capacity & fatigue
Poor posture results in low oxygen intake, which leads to fatigue. Slumping actually reduces lung capacity up to 30%. Good posture allows for deeper breathing that will move oxygen into the muscles and brain cells, thereby increasing energy.

Digestive issues
Believe it or not, the position of internal organs depends on good posture. Slouching causes intestines to “sag”, which can lead to digestive problems.

Muscle & joint pain
In response to poor posture, bone and joint alignment suffers, thereby preventing muscles from firing correctly.  The result is tightness and pain.

Nerve health and circulation
Long-term, poor posture puts stress on the spine and eventually changes anatomical structure. Blood vessels and nerves experience constriction. This is why regular visits to the chiropractor will adjust and train your body toward increased vitality and youthful function. In addition, your chiropractor can provide tips and exercises for integrating good posture into your daily routine.

A Few Tips for Good Posture
You can bet that curing chronic slouching will take effort, but in the end you will look and feel immensely better. Here are a few hints to keep your body aligned and perky!

1. While working at your desk, set a timer for 60-minute intervals. When the timer goes off, check your posture and get up, stretch and move around for a few minutes.

2. Remember your core when you are exercising. Santiago, our clinic rehab specialist, has some great tips for building your core. Schedule an evaluation appointment with him to find out more.

3. Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight can affect the way we hold ourselves, making it more difficult to practice good posture.

5. Invest in the right mattress and pillow.

6. Pay attention to injuries/see your chiropractor after you get injured.

7. Get your eyes checked. Problems with eyesight can affect the way you carry yourself.

8. Make an appointment for a Posture Analysis with Dr. Johnson. We use a cutting edge application to pinpoint issues and set you up on a plan to correct your posture and strengthen the muscles you haven't been using as a result of bad posture.

References
http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/the-importance-maintaining-good-posture-2.html
http://www.kansaschirofoundation.org/goodposture-article.html
http://www.muscleandfitnesshers.com/blogs/cody-lawyer/importance-good-posture
http://www.thehealthsite.com/diseases-conditions/top-5-bad-postures-that-can-affect-your-health/
http://quemas.mamaslatinas.com/health_fitness/111430/the_5_horrible_effects_of

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