IS YOUR POSTURE IMPACTING ON YOUR HEALTH?

 

How is your posture?

 

We all know that good posture is an important part of everyday life; from how we sit at work, to how we stand when we are out in public. Believe it or not, posture is not only important to how we look, but is also vital to the function of every part of your body. There are many contributing factors to an incorrect posture pattern and the underlying structure of your body could be the primary issue.

 

Identifying a shift in your structure and engaging in activities to correct it as quickly as possible, may be the best thing you do to avoid long term damage, reduce pain, and increase your health and longevity over your life time.

 

Let me ask you this…

 

What does a young, healthy/properly functioning posture look like? How about an older, unhealthy/poor functioning posture?

 

Most of us can agree that a healthy looking posture is one where our shoulders and head are comfortably back and the body is standing up straight… compared to an older, poor functioning one which can be seen as hunched over and potentially twisted.

 

It’s not uncommon to see people of all ages and activity levels with poor posture and therefore, poor structure… Just look around.

 

With more video games, smart devices, inactivity and increased sitting times at work and in the car… as a society, we are not helping ourselves to solve and fix our structural issues.

 

POOR POSTURE CAN:

 

1. Accelerate stress, depression and consume energy

 

In a study with students from the San Francisco State University, walking in a slouched position showed decreased energy levels with increased levels of depression.

According to Dr. Sperry, the 1981 Nobel Prize winner, “the more mechanically distorted a person is, the less energy is available for thinking, metabolism, and healing.” In other words, the more your structure is unbalanced, the more your brain has to change its concentration from thinking and regenerating, to dealing with the imbalance itself, taking energy away from other important body systems.

 

2. “Add” a few kilograms and Contribute to Digestive problems

 

Long term forward slouching positions can mechanically constrict your intestines and stomach, therefore making digestion tricky. Your digestive tract relies on activity known as peristaltic movements to push food through your intestines. In a forward slouched position, these movements are affected.

Further to this, a forward position can push your belly out, making you look slightly bigger than you really are!

 

3. Increase pain

 

The harder that your muscles have to work to support your distorted body, the more tired, inflamed and uncomfortable they will get. How many times have you experienced the likes of headaches, back pain, buttock pain and shoulder pain as a secondary effect of poor posture and structure?

 

4. Restrict breathing

 

There have been many studies over the years that have demonstrated how moving the head into a forward position and a slumped posture can reduce how well your lungs work. This reduction to the lungs functionality can diminish the amount of oxygen getting to the rest of your body.

 

5. Contribute to a shortened lifespan

 

Is it the chicken or the egg? While the answer is still uncertain, it has been shown in multiple studies that (in the ageing population that was studied) an anterior head position with a slumped mid back (hyperkyphosis) relates to increased mortality… no thank you.

With these few examples of the effects of poor posture and structure, it only makes sense that putting value on identifying and correcting your poor posture patterns will not only help you today, but also in the future.

 

 

WHY IS POSTURE IMPORTANT?  

 

The main reason that poor posture can be detrimental to the function of the human body is because it can be a sign of a deeper fundamental PRIMARY ISSUE.  

A PRIMARY ISSUE is a problem with one of the body’s main requirements for health. 

Poor posture/structure, poor nutrition, poor sleep, poor neuro-structural function, or poor exercise patterns would all be classified as PRIMARY ISSUES. In each situation, leaving this problem unaddressed could lead to SECONDARY PROBLEMS.

Poor posture and poor structure are PRIMARY ISSUES.

A real world example using your home…  

If the foundation of your home was structurally unbalanced, and this vital imbalance was left unaddressed over a period of time, we would begin noticing a myriad of SECONDARY PROBLEMS within the building. Examples include; cracks in the walls, leaky windows and creaky floorboards. The longer these issues are left unattended, the more serious SECONDARY PROBLEMS come to light. For example, electrical or plumbing damage.

Postural problems are PRIMARY ISSUES and identifying them early can have a tremendous impact on your health.  

 

 

YOUR 4 STEP GUIDE TO IDENTIFYING POSTURAL PROBLEMS  

 

While a comprehensive Neuro-Structural Assessment is the most accurate way to identify and confirm a structural shift and quantify its impact on health and functional outcomes, these four easy tests will give you an idea if further assessment is needed.  

 

1. THE MIRROR TEST  

 

Stand facing a full-length mirror and look to determine if:  

  • Shoulders are level
  • Head is straight
  • Spaces between your arms and sides are equal
  • Your hips are level and your kneecaps face straight ahead
  • Ankles are straight  

Stand parallel to the mirror and take a photo or have someone else look to determine if:  

  • Head is erect and ears sit directly above shoulders
  • Chin is parallel to the floor and not tilting up or down
  • Shoulders are in line with your ears and not drooping forward or pulled back
  • Knees are straight
  • Lower back has a slight forward curve and not pushing your tummy forward

 

2. THE BREATH TEST

 

Stand facing a full-length mirror and take a big breath in and quickly let all the air out, relax your muscles and let your body slump. Determine if: 

  • Your breath is deep and not shallow
  • Your head stays in a neutral position and does not go forward
  • Your shoulders stay back and don’t roll forward
  • Your low back remains stable and does not sway forward
  • Knees are straight and not locking out 
  • Your body remains balanced and you do not sway from the ankles

3. THE WALL TEST  

 

Stand with the back of your head, shoulders and buttocks touching the wall and your heels 15cm from the wall.  

Check the distance with your hand between your neck and the wall  

If your head, shoulders or buttocks cannot touch the wall or if you can slide more than three fingers behind your neck, you may have a postural distortion and there’s a likelihood it is affecting your health in some capacity  

4. THE FLOOR ANGLE

 

Lie on the floor with knees pulled up, feet on the ground, lower rib cage in contact with the floor and arms at 90 degrees in a “stick ‘em up” type position.  

The back of your head should maintain contact with the floor and your chin should stay tucked.  

A positive test is indicated by any of the following deviations to a ‘normal’ position:  

  • Hips come off the floor  
  • Rib cage comes off the floor  
  • Head cannot maintain contact with the floor  
  •  Wrists and arms cannot maintain contact with the floor  

 

Poor posture is a condition within the human frame that has far-reaching effects through our body. It affects our health in ways in which we can see and feel, but it can also affect us in ways we could have no idea about.  

 

If any of the above self-tests were positive for you, a comprehensive Neuro-Structural Assessment is warranted. Click here to request an appointment or call Rise Chiropractic at 07 5475 4235. 

 

 

References:

https://biofeedbackhealth.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/a-published-increase-or-decrease-depression.pdf

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0003999305014723

https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jpts/28/1/28_jpts-2015-715/_article/-char/ja/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2711520/

https://www.jospt.org/doi/pdf/10.2519/jospt.2010.3099