As a chiropractor, posture and alignment are often what I see first and foremost; whether I’m working with clients in practice or simply people watching in the Pantiles, it’s my ‘first impression’. But why is posture so important? Aside from the fact no one wants to develop a hunchback, your posture reflects the condition of your body and is an expression of how well it’s functioning. It gives insights into your personality, mood and stress levels as well as dictates how prone to injury or wear and tear you are. Yes, that’s right, poor posture ages you.
Let’s talk mechanics. A forward head position, rounded shoulders, a slouched back all add strain onto muscles and joints in the spine and extremities –to be more specific a forward head posture can add up to an extra 30 pounds of stress onto your neck, compared to if it was in it’s correct position. Get the feeling your head is too heavy for your neck? That would be why. The extra workload on these muscles mean they underperform, become weaker and cause joints to get stiffer. The body then has to adapt to compensate for these altered mechanics and before you know it, you feel rickety in the mornings and it becomes increasingly less comfortable to hold a ‘good posture’. Headaches, nerve entrapments, energy slump/brain fog, are just a few commonly known symptoms that can arise from poor postural habits but there are also a few others that you may not have linked. Recurrent sport/gym related injuries such as that pulled hamstring that never seems to settle, or shoulder impingements that can take so long to rehabilitate, or back spasms that occur every time you mow the lawn or pick up your baby, can all be related to the consequences of poor posture.
So folks, in an era where ‘text neck’ is an actual epidemic, sitting is the new smoking and neck and back pain are one of the leading causes of absenteeism in the work place (30.8 million days lost in 2016 to be exact! Not to mention the cost to business’ and taxpayers.. ) more than ever we need to be powering up our poses and prioritising our spines. I encourage you to become your very own inner chiro. Firstly, be aware of your imbalances; are you peering towards you computer screen and jutting your neck forwards? When driving are you leaning to one side? Do you carry the kids more on one hip than the other? When exercising take note of how symmetrical your shoulders and pelvis sit, are your efforts more controlled and fluid on one side more than the other? Being conscious when sedentary or whilst moving will allow you to take control of nurturing your body to work in the way it is designed to. If you pick up on these discrepancies, do something about it –sign up to that yoga or Pilates class you’ve been meaning to go to, book an appointment with your chiropractor, pop a post it on your computer screen reminding you to get up and move every half an hour, do everything you can to look after that deserving body of yours –it’s the only one you’ve got!
Article by Zoe Pantelios MChiro DC (Chiropractor)
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