Why is Posture So Important?
At some point in your life you have probably heard someone say “stand up straight,” or “you shouldn’t slouch,“ but have you ever really thought about all of the reasons why good posture is so important? Posture is the position in which you hold your body in. Our body alignment in relation to gravity. Why does it matter, one may ask. Your neutral body position is created so that the head and each of the vertebrae are stacked on top of one another to eliminate abnormal wearing of joint surfaces, so the muscles are balanced and being used most efficiently. When you have proper alignment, the weight is distributed evenly and is transferred down to the pelvis where it is centered and distributed evenly to both legs. Your center of gravity is important for balance.
Poor posture can have a negative effect on your health. It adds tension to structures that were not meant to bear weight. Over time this can wear down bones, joints and ligaments unevenly often creating chronic pain and ultimately lead to irreversible damage. Some common examples of poor alignment such as forward head carriage, a “slouched” position of the upper back and shoulders, and overarching the low back can all lead to dysfunction and discomfort. There are many influences other than just bad habits that can contribute to bad posture as well. Weak or tight postural muscles, a lack of flexibility and proper joint motion, stress, obesity, pregnancy can also play a role.
When our bodies move out of neutral position for long periods of time pain is a common result. Prolonged positions where your head is forward such as looking down at your phone can result in neck pain and tension headaches. It can also cause the temporal mandibular joint, (TMJ) to become misaligned causing an improper bite pattern. A slouched position can restrict your breathing due to a decreased ability for the rib cage to expand and contract. An overarched lumbar spine due to weak abdominal muscles can cause low back pain, misaligned hips, and uneven wear and tear on knees and ankles. These abnormal repetitive body positions turn into bad habits that disrupt overall wellness. The good news is that once you recognize what can be corrected, your posture can improve.
Working on core strength and flexibility can noticeably improve your posture in just a few weeks. Awareness of what good posture looks like and correcting bad habits are also important. A few questions that are helpful to periodically ask yourself are
-Is my chin parallel to the floor?
-Are my ears aligned with my shoulders?
-Are my shoulders down and back?
-Do I have a neutral spine?
-Am I standing with even hips?
-Is my body weight distributed evenly on both feet?
-Are my knees pointing forward?
With a conscious awareness of good posture, you will not only look better, you will feel better and move better. Proper alignment looks healthy and confident. You will have more energy since the muscles do not have to work as hard in a neutral position. Your breathing quality will improve and deliver more oxygen to the cells. Practicing better posture is a key to better overall health. A chiropractor can help correct postural imbalances and alleviate postural related pain. They can diagnose your postural issues and work with you to develop a treatment plan to help you improve including exercises, stretching and recommendations for work place ergonomics. If you are concerned about your posture, you can give Complete Care Chiropractic in Williamsville, NY, a call to schedule an appointment with one of the doctors to get you on the road to better posture, health and wellness.