By Dr Robert Delgado, DC, C.C.W.P
Perhaps you remember your parents telling you to sit up straight and now you’ve found yourself telling your children the same thing. Is this just a right of passage from childhood to adulthood, or is this something more to this thing called posture?
What is posture?
Posture is defined as the position of the body or the position of several parts of the body with respect to each other for a particular purpose.
The most important aspect of posture though is its relationship to the alignment of the spine. Posture is often called “The window to the spine” – In other words if your posture is out of alignment it means your spine is out of alignment.
How can a misaligned posture/spine affect me?
Poor posture will add strain onto the muscles supporting the spine – This can lead to neck pain, headaches, low back pain and fatigue. The relentless pull of gravity combined with work and play habits, means that poor posture is not self-correcting and over time can lead to loss of movement and degenerative joint disease (Arthritis).
This resulting loss of movement can also affect the functioning of the nerves exiting the spine, which may cause interference to the messages sent from the brain to the body and from the body to the brain.
How do I know if my posture is out of alignment?
Steps to performing a postural exam – looking straight ahead at yourself in the mirror
Step one – look at the bottom of the ears; if one is higher than the other, this is a head tilt and a sign of possible neck misalignment.
Step Two – Look at the shoulders; they should be level, if they are not this is a sign of a mid back misalignment
Step Three – Place your hands on top of your hips, if one hip is higher than the other this could be a sign of a misalignment of your lower back or hip.
Looking from a side view (you will need someone else to check this for you)
Your ear should be directly over the middle of you shoulder – If your ear is forward of this you have forward head posture. For every inch your head posture goes forward your head becomes 10 pounds “heavier” to the muscles and bones of the neck.
How can I improve/correct my posture?
There are treatment protocols specifically designed to help improve or correct posture. These will usually include Chiropractic adjustments as well as an easy to follow exercise regime. The first step is to have your posture analyzed by a trained health care professional.
Chiropractors specialize in the Spine and the Nervous system and place a strong emphasis on postural correction.