You probably heard it over and over again as a child…“Sit up straight!” “Stop slouching!” Chances are it became more of an annoyance than a life lesson. But, it may be time to reexamine these important statements; your health may depend on it.
Good posture matters, but before we look into the reasons why, it’s critical to understand what it refers to. By definition, posture references the body’s alignment with respect to gravity while sitting, standing or lying down. Good posture means redistributing the way gravity puts force on the body so no one structure (joint, ligament, muscle, etc.) is overstressed.
At first, good posture requires work, but, in the long run it can become second nature. Chiropractors make it their mission to examine their patients’ posture and to find ways to make it better. In a perfect posture, the spine should have no lateral curvature and the legs should be symmetrical without unnecessary angulations of the knees or ankles when looking from the back. From the side, think of anatomy class spine models. The spine should form an S-curve that allow gravity to be centered and evenly distributed throughout the body with minimal muscular effort.
Because many individuals sit for a living, it’s where good posture matters most (think: driving, working at a computer, eating dinner, watching television, etc.). It’s easy to become accustomed to allowing the head and neck to angle forward while concentrating on something in front of us. This causes imbalance and can lead to long-term pain and even injury. To reverse this, practice sitting in straight-backed chairs with a small pillow in the lower back’s arch. This forces you to straighten up and to work on keeping your head more centered above your spine, while maintaining the optimal S-curve (mentioned above). Once you’ve mastered sitting, practice good posture while standing as well, with your neck straight and shoulders back, the rest of your body will follow suit.
Good posture matters, it’s the foundation for a healthy body free of undue stress, pain and fatigue. Have questions? Contact Dr. Scott Levan at Levan Chiropractic today!