Good Posture...I know, I can feel how bored you are already. I don't blame you. Can you even count how many times you have been nit picked about slouching?
And why the hell should you care right? I mean, who cares that you slump a little? Plus, its so hard to stop doing! You try so hard to be upright when you first get to your computer but sure enough, 2 hours later you find yourself leaning into the screen of your computer with your shoulders hanging from your ears and a back hunch that would make Mr. Burns envious.
As a Chiropractor, 2 things happen often in my life.
The first is that at almost every time I am introduced to a person or group, most people instinctively straighten their backs and sit or stand taller, as if they all instinctively know that 'Good Posture' is important (even if we don't know why) and that its something we only think about when prompted to (even though we know deep down that our posture isn't great in the first place)
The second is that poor posture is one of the leading causes the issues that we see in our practice every day!
Low back, neck pain, jaw pain, shoulder injury, predisposition to spinal degeneration, carpal tunnel type symptoms, migraines and tension headaches are some of the most common symptoms we see day in and day out and it doesn't take much Googling to find that a lot of these problems are either caused by, or at the least made worse by, poor posture.
So, how does having bad posture lead to these issues?
The answer is actually really simple and its actually a major part of understanding what we do as chiropractors:
Nervous system feedback and the body’s position in space
"The deeper layers of muscle are concerned with ‘sensing’ our position in space and relaying this information to the brain. If this function is taken over by muscles... (As a result) the brain gets an incomplete picture. The brain assumes that the body needs to be propped up to counteract the effects of gravity, so it triggers further muscle contraction. This adds to the general fatigue and pain felt by the person with poor posture." - The Victorian Government's better health website
The issues with poor posture appear to go beyond just the physical mechanics as well!
If I told you to imitate a person who is stressed out, anxious or depressed, I bet you would tighten and slightly raise your shoulders, pushing your head forward and making you shorter. Sound familiar?
Some authors discuss that consistently being in this position might actually lead to deepened depression, increases in perceived stress, circulation issues, as well as negatively affecting digestion, breathing mechanics and the we way we are perceived by ourselves and others!
So what can we do about it? Well I'm here to tell you that dealing with posture is both simple AND challenging.
Simple in that there are very basic ways that we can start to work on and improve how our body holds itself, yet challenging in that as Australian's, we are sitting or lying down for an average of 23 hours and 47 minutes, so we have a lot practice at bad posture to try and work against!
Over the space of a few more blog posts, I am hoping to talk you through some strategies to start tackling this problem, but until then, if you have any questions, or if yourself or someone close to you needs help getting out of their slump, please do not hesitate to contact us at Align on (03) 9696 1057.