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Back Health Blog

How to look and feel great with good posture

Thursday, November 22, 2012
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When our spinal muscles are strong they can hold up our body in an upright position.  Likewise, when they are weak, they get loose and fail to resist the downward pull of gravity, and we will end up in a bad posture. A typical bad posture is one with a forward slouch of the upper back, rounding of shoulders and forward shift at the hips.

What’s so bad about “bad posture”?  When we slouch, the sheer weight of our head, neck and shoulders will "drag" and “hang” on the backbone (our spine).  After about 15 min of sustained static posture like sitting, the back muscles will be pulled (strained) and the joints in the spine will start to shift out of their normal alignment.  The back muscles then react by tightening up (to resist the pull). Soon, you'll feel muscle stiffness and fatigue. The inter-connecting joints in the spine will also feel "locked up" as a result of the stiffening of the muscles. Repeat this pattern day after day, and you'll end up with spinal joints stuck in a faulty position or what we call a misalignment.

What’s the consequence of “bad posture”?  When the tissues are constantly being pulled, they start to lose elasticity and they get easily torn.  Such injuries can occur suddenly like when you try to reach for something overhead, or they may come on slowly as you may feel a constant nagging pain in the neck and back over days or weeks. That’s when the joints are sprained and the muscles strained.

How good is your posture?  Check your posture with the following points. Now try to assume the stance of a good posture. See if you can maintain that for 5 min. Are your muscles holding you up? Or has gravity won you over?

Bad standing posture

  • Neck forward
  • shoulders hunched
  • Back slouched
  • Hips forward
  • Knees bent

Good standing posture

  • Chin tucked in
  • Shoulders wide
  • Back straight
  • Abs flat
  • Legs straight

I'm stuck...So what can I do?  Often it is hard to resume a straight posture or to keep it that way for any length of time, simply because the spinal joints have been so used to their misaligned positions and the muscles are too stiff to give way.  If that is your case, then you're long overdue for a spinal checkup.  A chiropractor is trained in identifying problem areas along the spine where tension has built up, and correcting them by performing spinal manipulation which not only releases the tension but also allows the joints to go back to their normal alignment.  That way, standing up tall and straight will be so much easier!

To book your next spinal checkup session, contact us now!

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