“Somewhere, something went terribly wrong…”
I can honestly say that I discuss postural issues in an effort to help heal injuries with virtually ALL of my patients. Why? Simply because most of the postures assumed by people in society today are just outright awful!
I personally think that with the advancement of the computer and gaming, lack of physical exertion amongst children (removal of gym class and limitation of team sports), and the ever-present slouching postures(sitting and standing) assumed by todays youth, that I am going to be busy for a VERY long time! The reduction of physical performance is very closely associated with poor posture, limiting lung capacity as well as cardiac output. And since it takes exercise and practice to keep good posture, this is the “perfect storm” needed for continued back problems associated to poor postural issues.
Correct Standing Posture
The spine is arranged in three curves: cervical (neck), thoracic(mid-back), and lumbar (low back). When they are properly aligned, these curves support your weight comfortably on the bones, not thru the muscles and ligaments. The curves are maintained when you are relaxed and your ears, shoulders, and hips are in a straight line. This is called a neutral position, and although people will argue that a slouched position is more ‘comfortable’, it causes your ligaments to stretch more and more – contributing to energy expenditure on the part of muscles to then aid the ligaments in keeping posture up. Eventually, this slouched positioning promotes an anterior displacement of the head, simply because of an increased bend(kyphosis) of the midback. Headaches become a common complaint in an individual with poor posture, considering the small muscles of the neck are then forced to work much harder to extend the neck in order to keep one’s eyes on the horizon as opposed to looking about 3 feet in front of their feet!
Sitting postures are similar, although some reclining chairs and seats with angled backs contribute to slouching. This is why it’s best to use a chair that is ergonimically efficient as well as comfortable. Generally, your posture should be similar while sitting at a table or while on a computer as it is while standing – upright but relaxed. Due to the increasing use of computers as well as the decrease of physical activity in this society, I will be a very busy chiropractor from all the chronic sprains and strains I’ll end up treating for this otherwise easily-correctible lifestyle change.