Did you grow up with your parents telling you to ‘Sit up’? ‘Watch your posture’? We may even be saying the same to our children now!

Good posture is unfortunately rarely seen. Look around at any given time. How are people standing around you? Often people are looking down at their phone. How’s their posture looking at their desk? Any better? What about on the couch at home? Pretzel like!

So let’s get some clarity around our posture. We are going to answer some important questions to help you get better posture.

  1. What is normal posture?
  2. Why is good posture important?
  3. What can cause posture to change?
  4. How can we improve our posture

1.WHAT IS NORMAL POSTURE

When we look at posture we need to assess someone standing. Firstly from the front and then from the side to see their profile.

From the front we should see level pelvis (hips), level shoulders with head not tilting. We should be seeing no tilting or twisting of the torso either.

Our side posture is comprised of 3 curves. The forward curve of our lower back and neck and the backward curve of our mid back, where our ribs attach. On the side we should see feet over knees, knees over hips, hips over shoulders and then shoulders over ear. We shouldn’t see shifting of the torso forward or back bending of the torso forward or back. Often we see forward head posture. This is commonly associated with tension in the shoulders, neck pain and stiffness

2. WHY IS GOOD POSTURE IMPORTANT?

When we talk about the curves in our posture we are talking about our side curves. These curve have a huge job of providing leverage for movement and providing shock absorption so our spinal cord and spinal nerves stay protected.

Try jumping on a bed with no springs! The springs in a bed absorb shock.

Ideal curves help to reduce the load on the spinal joints and soft tissues structures, such as muscles and ligaments.

Our nerves run our body, so good spinal alignment reduces the stress on our nervous system – maintaining healthy posture is vital for our health. Stressed spinal joints and fatigued muscles can cause pain and discomfort and lead to a reduced quality of life.

3. WHAT CAUSES POSTURE TO CHANGE?

The common causes are poor posture, age, lack of physical activity, inappropriate physical activity, injury and disease.

Poor posture causes poor posture

What we are saying here is that continuously adopting poor posture will create postural habits that over time will cause structural changes in the spine, in other words, spinal deformity. Focusing on maintaining healthy moving spine that is well aligned will prevent the negative ramifications of poor posture.

Age

Lack of spinal health over time often leads to poor posture in the later years. Research has shown that people with an increase forward stoop have a higher incidence of morbidity and mortality because of the stress on the organs and nervous system.

In one research 1353 elderly people had their posture assessed. What the researchers were looking at was how the stooping posture affected their longevity. The study was followed up after 4.2 years and they found that the more hyperkyphotic (stooped) the posture become the greater the mortality rate. 2

In another research paper they were looking at the effects that permanent changes in posture, such as forward stoop has on people’s overall health. They found that the impact was enourmous. “The global burden of ASD (adult spinal deformity) was huge compared with other self-reported chronic conditions in the general population of eight industrialized countries. The impact of ASD on HRQL (health related quality of life) warrants the same research and health policy attention as other important chronic diseases.” 1

1. Impact on health related quality of life of adult spinal deformity (ASD) compared with other chronic conditions. Ferran Pellise et al, Eur Spine J (2015) 24:3–11

2. Kado et al. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2004

Lack of exercise or injuries

Weakness in the certain muscles around the spine do to lack of activity will cause poor posture and eventually spinal deformity if not corrected. Incorrect exercising where certain postural muscles are overworked, can lead to imbalance and aggravate postural issuies. Injuries, anywhere in the body will cause compensations. Appropriate rehabilitation after the incident is important not to create bad habits in the postural muscles that determine our posture.

Scoliosis

Abnormal bending in the spine that should normally be straight, can and often does cause changes in posture. These people may have uneven pelvis/shoulders and rib hump. Scoliosis may be present from childhood and will progress in adulthood if no measures are put into place early enough to slow the curve progression.

4. WHAT CAN WE IMPROVE POSTURE?

The answer is to start with a healthy spine. If your spine is stuck and stiff then it is difficult to maintain healthy posture. At the same time core muscles need to be strong around the spine. To maintain a well moving and strong spine, we need to be aware of how we sit stand and sleep each and every day.

Spinal Health

Chiropractic care is all about spinal health. Our office, at Errol Street Chiropractic Centre is a CBP office. Chiropractic BioPhysics is very much a treatment that assesses posture and provides the worlds best technique in spinal postural correction. The goal of CBP is to correct the posture for that individual as close to the ideal posture as possible with a mutilmodal system of care that includes traction, Mirror Image adjustments®, Mirror Image exercises®, and home Denneroll/Scoliroll.

Awareness

Once your spine is moving well and strong, then it’s important that after all that hard work, that you watch how you sit, stand and sleep. A neutral spine, where there is not twists, tilts and shifts should be maintained throughout the day and night.

Exercise

A well functioning spine needs the support of muscles around the spine. The core muscles should be strong. Activities such as pilates, that help to improve their strength is another vital aspect of having a healthy posture.

call us 9329 1118 if you feel it is time for an assessment