The month of May is “Posture Awareness Month”. At Joshua Spine and Health Center our staff is challenging our patients to improve their posture and encourage their families and friends to improve their posture too. Do you have good posture? When you look at a person with slouched shoulders, head tilted towards the ground, and a rounded back, do you think they appear healthy? I don’t. When I see a person with poor posture I see a lack of muscular strength, weak structure, low energy – a defeated person with poor health. When you see a person with good posture what do you think of them? When I see a person with good upright posture I picture them as confident, youthful, full of energy, and healthy.
As you can imagine, not many people start off coming into our office with good posture. As a chiropractor it’s one of my first duties to improve this problem as it has many detrimental effects on a person’s overall health. Poor posture can result in more than just back and neck pain. As a Certified Chiropractic Sports Practitioner I know the importance of balance and symmetry for the body to function at it’s fullest potential. Poor posture can be even more serious than you think as it progresses. It can lead to severe problems such as headaches, breathing problems due to the compression of the lungs, mood problems, depression, blood pressure problems, degenerative joint or disc disease, and it can even cause problems with the body’s hormone production.
How can you tell if you have poor posture? Remember that your body is symmetrical from side to side. If a line is drawn down your center, everything on the right should match everything on the left. Signs of structural and postural problems will be seen in uneven shoulders, uneven pelvic bones, inward pointing or uneven knees, or feet that show inward or outward pressure instead of an even stance. When assessing posture from the side view of a person, you should be able to drop a line straight down from your ear that should pass through your shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle. If any one of these structures is offline than you have structural issues that should be assessed by a healthcare professional. For example, forward head posture can add up to thirty pounds of abnormal weight to the spine. It can then lead to neck and upper back pain, headaches, arm and hand tingling and weakness, and sometimes carpal tunnel syndrome-like symptoms.
During Posture Awareness Month we are asking our Joshua Spine and Health Center friends to check the posture of their family members at home by using our postural grading chart. Be aware that poor posture leads to poor function and then poor health. If you should find a problem in a family member or yourself you should be scheduled for a complete postural and spinal evaluation. Here are some helpful tips to promote good posture:
- Keep your shoulders in line with your ears and chest up at all times including sitting in front of your computer, couch, or in your car driving
- Make sure your workspace is set up properly to prevent any forward head tilt down or excessive reaching
- Do NOT sit on a wallet, sit on your leg, or cross your legs at the knees (crossing your legs at the ankles is permitted)
- Do NOT spend hours looking down at your cell phone texting or reading your kindle (Hold your device up higher and maintain a chin that is level)
- See your Chiropractor for preventive or wellness care adjustments to maintain proper spinal and pelvic alignment
If good posture feels bad and bad posture feels good, then you definitely have a problem and should seek out a qualified health care professional’s help.
Joseph J. Thomas, DC, CCSP