Posture is the position in which we hold our bodies while standing, sitting, or lying down to a lesser extent. Good posture is the correct alignment of body parts supported by the right amount of muscle tension against gravity. Without posture and the muscles that control it, we would simply fall to the ground.
Normally, we do not consciously maintain normal posture. Instead, certain muscles do it for us, and we don’t even have to think about it. Several muscle groups, including the hamstrings and large back muscles, are critically important in maintaining good posture. While the ligaments help to hold the skeleton together, these postural muscles, when functioning properly, prevent the forces of gravity from letting us over forward. Postural muscles also maintain our posture and balance during movement.
Good posture helps us stand, walk, sit, and lie in positions that place the least strain on supporting muscles and ligaments during movement and weight-bearing activities. Correct posture:
- Helps us keep bones and joints in correct alignment so that our muscles are used correctly, decreasing the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces that could result in degenerative arthritis and joint pain.
- Reduces the stress on the ligaments holding the spinal joints together, minimizing the likelihood of injury.
- Allows muscles to work more efficiently, allowing the body to use less energy and, therefore, preventing muscle fatigue.
- Helps prevent muscle strain, overuse disorders, and even back and muscular pain.
The fact is bad posture creates chronic pain in nearly 80% of the people who appear with chronic pain as their chief complaint. This is particularly true on the opposite ends of the spine, the neck and low back.
Your Chiropractor will evaluate the overall alignment of your body, from the head to toes. The presence of any variations from the ideal postural alignment can help your Chiropractor determine regions that may be weak or tight. Your chiropractor will work with you to develop customized techniques to improve your posture.
Some of these techniques may include specific spinal adjustments, gentle stretches, core strengthening exercises and advanced techniques to re-train your body and muscles in simple patterns of movement. Your body will ‘relearn’ what it was always meant to do.
To maintain proper posture, you need to have adequate muscle flexibility and strength, normal joint motion in the spine and other body regions, as well as efficient postural muscles that are balanced on both sides of the spine. In addition, you must recognize your postural habits at home and in the workplace and work to correct them, if necessary. By putting this knowledge into practice, you can prevent the anatomical changes that can develop if poor posture is left uncorrected.
Towards Wellness: Try to Keep a Healthy Routine this Christmas
Over the holiday period it can be difficult to stick to your usual healthy eating and exercise routine. Remember, if you stock up on lots of goodies for the Christmas/New Period, you are setting yourself up for at least a month of indulging. If you try your best to stick to your usual routine this will help you overcome overeating and a lack of exercise.
S-T-R-E-T-C-H of the Month: Side Leg Raise
- Lie down on your right side on the floor. Your body should be in a straight line with your legs extended and feet stacked on top of each other.
- Place your arm straight on the floor under your head or bend your elbow and cradle your head for support. Rest your left arm on your leg or hip.
- As you exhale, gently raise your left leg off the lower leg. Stop raising your leg when you feel the muscles flex in your lower back or obliques.
- Inhale and lower the leg back down to meet the right leg. Stack your feet again.
- Repeat 10-12 times, then switch to the other side.