Shifnal Chiropractic Clinic

01952 460 947

Postural Problems

Posture is the basis of everything we do.  It doesn’t matter how good your core strength is, what you do in your day to day life or if you try to always lift correctly; if your posture is wrong, you are permanently exposing yourself to a risk of injury.

It is such a simple premise, but one that almost nobody adequately pays attention to.  If you want to avoid injury, then you have got to hold yourself in the correct posture.  Whatever you are doing, whether it is sitting at your desk or getting out and about on your bike, posture is of vital importance.  We have spent thousands of years evolving to be able to stand upright, and have developed the necessary curves in our spine to hold ourselves steady on our two legs.  But the tendency of modern civilisation is to let these spinal curves collapse in on themselves, so your upper back ends up rounding through your shoulders, your lower back has an exaggerated arch with your stomach sticking out, and you have to raise your chin just to be able to look straight ahead, which makes the curve of your neck much more pronounced as well.  All of this places a huge stress on the muscles, joints and ligaments of your spine and the surrounding area, even if you are staying still, let alone when you start trying to actually move around!

Generally, I try and start with addressing posture while standing up.  I ask my patients to perform a variety of exercises aimed at getting them to understand how they should be positioning their body and getting them to be more aware of when they start to backslide a little.  There is usually much hilarity while we work on this, as it can seem extremely unnatural and downright strange to start with when you are learning to stand correctly!  Even once you grasp where your body should be, initially you will feel totally unable to move without looking a bit like you’re doing the robot dance.  However, the more you practice maintaining this correct posture, the more natural it will seem and the more you will be able to incorporate it into your daily activities.  Eventually, it becomes your natural posture and you don’t even have to think about it anymore.

This initial stage is the hardest – we are trying to completely re-wire your body’s memory into a new, healthier, stronger position and that can be quite a challenge!  Once you have mastered it, however, the rest comes much more easily.  After all, your seated posture is going to be essentially your standing posture, but with a ninety degree bend at your hips and knees.  Nothing else needs to change – you still maintain the same posture with your head and neck, and the basic positioning skills for the rest of your spine also stay the same.

So once we’ve mastered this correct posture in static positions, we need to learn to use it during the tasks you do every day.  Your Chiropractor will always carefully tailor this stage of your programme to suit your own personal needs, recreating the situations you find yourself in as nearly as possible and advising you on particular areas to be aware of.

That’s the how then, but let’s take a closer look at the why.  After all, I said at the start that poor posture is the root of all evil (well, figuratively speaking!) but it’s no good expecting you to just take my word for it.

The biggest effect I see in people of poor posture is muscular dysfunction.  The muscles across the front of your shoulders and lower back become far too tight, while the muscles across your upper back and your abdominal muscles become weak.  Also, the muscles in your neck are being placed under enormous tension by the forward head carriage the rest of your posture is forcing on you.  It is commonly thought that for every 1 inch further forward you carry your head than it is supposed to be, the functional weight of your head increases by approximately 10lbs (4.5kgs)!  While discussing neck pain, I mentioned that you have an extremely flexible and relatively slender structure (your neck) carrying 9lbs (4.5kgs) of your head around, and therefore it isn’t surprising that it is prone to injuries.  Now if we factor in poor posture, you neck is expected to carry even more weight with even weaker muscles.  I think almost everyone can understand that this is never going to work well.

This type of muscular dysfunction affects the whole back, with different aspects of poor posture causing different stresses and tensions.  Clearly, Chiropractic will have a short-term roll in relieving the tension in these muscles, as well as addressing lack of movement in the joints, but the most important treatment for long term benefit is always going to be to correct the underlying complaint – poor posture.  Having good posture is also fantastic for your image and self-confidence.  People who stand properly appear to be slimmer, more confident and self-possessed; combine that with the physical benefits and it is not so much why should you improve your posture but why on earth wouldn’t you?!

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01952 460 947

Shifnal Chiropractic Clinic,
5 Dyas Close, Shifnal
TF11 9BQ

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