By now we’ve all heard at some point that good spinal posture is important – from our parents, teachers, and coaches, there seems to be a general consensus that having ‘proper’ posture is good for us.
What you may not have heard before is WHY having a slumped over posture is a serious health problem.
At the core of our bodies is a forgotten organ called the spine. Made up of 24 moveable bones and 23 spongy discs, it is held together by over 220 specialized ligaments, made moveable by 120 muscles and, most importantly, it protects the most vital system in the human body – your Nervous System.
It goes without saying that this primary system for communication, which organizes health, healing and organ function, should be a key part of your health and self-care. Sadly it’s not, and profound changes in the posture of our population are evidence of this attitude.
Two recent studies (American Geriatric Society and Spinal Disorders) noted an increase in mortality by 1.45x in those people with forward head posture! The real issue is that poor posture is not just a spine problem. It’s a serious health problem.
Research has also shown that movement of the spine is essential nutrition for the brain, and is vital to maintaining healthy brain function.
Without regular, healthy movement of the spine, not only do your spinal bones, joints and ligaments break down, but the part of your brain responsible for planning, decision making and other higher brain functions starts to break down too – this may sound familiar for teenagers with that classic ‘text neck’ posture!
Good spinal posture means maintaining your spine in a position that keeps your spinal joints, muscles and ligaments in their optimal, neutral position. For most people, this means having you ear, shoulder, hips, knees and ankles all aligned if looking from the side.
Putting your spine in this position feels strange for many and takes a lot of effort, caused by a chronic lack of mobility or unhealthy joints, muscles and ligaments. The longer your spine has been unhealthy, the harder it is to correct – that’s why it’s important to address postural issues early on with kids – as the twig is bent, so grows the tree!
Here are 3 really easy things that YOU can implement TODAY to drastically improve your posture, spinal health and overall health:
1. Assess Your Workstation
Make sure your work or home office is set up correctly. Most office based workplaces have someone on staff able to perform an ergonomic assessment of your workspace and make recommendations on how to design a space that will not only help you be more productive, but protect your back and neck.
Click HERE for a complimentary manual on how to set up your workstation to prevent injury and better your posture.
2. Get Mobile
In order to develop a strong, upright posture, you need to have healthy joints.
One of the vital requirements for healthy joints is regular movement through full range of motion. When joints don’t move the way they are designed, they start to break down and stiffen up.
At the Wellness Group, we have designed some specific mobility exercises, targeting not just your spinal joints, but each of the movable joints in your body. By moving all of your joints through their full range of motion on a daily basis, huge improvements in joint and muscle health, as well as posture can be seen.
Click HERE to watch the first video in the Move By Design™ Mobility Program for some simple mobility exercises to get you started.
3. Get Your Spine Checked
How healthy is your spine?
It’s hard to know without a thorough examination. Chiropractic is the only profession whose sole mandate is the maintenance and optimization of the spine and nervous system.
Chiropractic care can help you slow down the effects of aging and start you on the path to better posture, and an extraordinary life.
Visit your local Life By Design Certified Chiropractor to get your spine and nervous system checked today.
Implement one, or all, of these easy steps in your own life and see what a difference they can make in how your body looks and feels!
- Kado DM et al. Hyperkyphotic posture predicts mortality in older community-dwelling men and women: a prospective study. J Am Ger Soc. 2004
- Patel et al. Leisure Time Spent Sitting in Relation to Total Mortality in a Prospective Cohort of US Adults. Am Journal of Epidemiology. 2010.