Why Does Good Posture Matter?
Your brain controls the function of your body by sending millions of electrical signals per second as quickly as 170 miles per hour through your spinal cord and nerves directing every function of your body’s 70,000 trillion cells. As amazing as this system is, it can be hindered with poor posture. Good posture and spinal alignment is essential for optimum function of this vital informational pathway. If correct posture is altered, or spinal curves are diminished, over a long period there is a direct negative affect on the brain and spinal cord. This is a well researched fact!
Good Posture…It’s more than just standing up straight.
1. Helps decrease the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces.For example, with a forward head posture the body is subject to a cascade of challenging weight bearing forces.
If your 8 to 10 pound head is out in front of you just one inch it effectively doubles the weight the body must absorb in its joints. The calves might get tighter due to increased weight on the toes, the knees have shearing forces on them, the lumbar discs have a build up of more force leaving them more prone to herniation/degeneration and the cervical spine is more apt to degenerate. Even the rounding of the shoulders will put the shoulder joints in a vulnerable position.
2. Prevents fatigue because muscles are being used more efficiently to keep you erect, allowing the body to use less energy. When muscles are overworked due to poor posture they go into spasm and take away your vitality. Thus, when good posture is restored more energy is left for functioning in your day. IMAGE 4
“The more mechanically distorted a person is, the less energy is available for thinking, metabolism and healing.”
-Roger Sperry, PhD
Nobel Prize winner in brain research
3. Promotes optimum spinal cord function. When we lose our spinal curves the spinal cord gets stretched and is subject to a decrease in blood supply. Energy (ATP) production from the power house or mitochondria of the cell decreases. Over a period of time, the cord atrophies and communication between the brain and the body becomes diminished. The entire health of the body goes downward.
IMAGE 5 MRI of spinal cord narrowing due to a change in cervical curve with an arrow to the cord saying “Spinal cord narrowing due to a loss of cervical curve”
4. Prevents backache and muscular pain. When proper spinal alignment is reached the ligaments, muscles and joints have less stress and irritation on them and thus have less pain. When proper alignment is achieved the body is mechanically balanced, healing and preventing injuries.
When the spine is allowed to move freely, via chiropractic adjustments, there is a pain relieving affect. Proper spinal movement stimulates pain relieving nerves with every move you make.
5. Contributes to a good appearance and a sense of well being. Research shows that depressed people were markedly happier when posture was corrected. Time to get off those antidepressants! For more information visit our Research Blog.
Here is a guide to help you determine if you have any unwanted postural deviations.
Front View– Stand facing a full length mirror, close your eyes walk in place turning your head from side to side, stop in what feels like a centered posture, open your eyes and do not move.
VERTICAL ALIGNMENT– Perfect standing posture is when the following are properly aligned–the points between your eyes, chin, collarbone, breastbone, pubic area and midpoint between your ankles;
HEAD– Are your eyes level of do you have a head tilt? You may also see some talking heads on television with a head tilt. Notice President Obama. He tends have a right head tilt.
SHOULDERS– Are the shoulders level and do they slump forward? This may come from carrying a purse or slumping over a computer. Check your children to catch postural deviations and scoliosis early.
SIDES– Check the spaces between your arms and sides to see if they are equal.
KNEES– Do your kneecaps face straight ahead?
Side View– This is done by the same procedure as above but with the help of a camera. Set the self timer on a dinner table and take a profile picture of your whole body.
HEAD– Is your head jetting forward? This is epidemic in our society and is a major insult on the health of the spine, spinal cord and body. Here the ears should be lined up with the center of the shoulders. The chin should be parallel to the floor.
SHOULDERS– Make sure they are not slumping forward or pulled too far back.
STOMACH– The stomach should be flat. Too much sticking out can indicate a hyperlordosis of the lower back.
DON’T FORGET THE KIDS– Many adults with chronic back pain and other ailments can trace the problem to years of bad posture habits or injuries in childhood. According to studies, there is a significantly high risk associated with football, trampoline and gymnastics. More than 1/3 of all high school football players sustain some type of injury. As a parent, seek professional help for children in the event of even a minor sports injury.