Perfect Posture for Healthy Living
By Dr. Tim Fargo, Chiropractor
When you hear the word “posture” does it conjure images of an army drill instructor or a ballet mistress forcing people to stand in a particular way? While those enforced postures have some value for those particular applications, they are not necessarily a natural or healthy posture for people in the workaday world. When we say “posture” we are referring to the natural alignment of the various parts of the body and the associated shape of the spine in a standing or seated (gravitational loadbearing) position.
Perfect posture would have your head balanced over your chest, and your chest balanced over your pelvis and feet. This is true whether we are talking about posture as viewed from the front or the side. If you have perfect posture from the outside, you will also have perfect spinal alignment on the inside; and that means having a straight spine when viewed from the front and a spine with gentle undulating curves when viewed from the side.
Good posture is important because it creates alignment that allows the spine to carry loads and absorb shock efficiently. In addition, good posture creates the greatest efficiency for your muscles so that they are not excessively tight and do not fatigue so readily. Lack of good posture creates alignment that accelerates damage and degeneration in the spine and causes fatigue and muscle imbalance. As an example, let’s imagine that you sit and stand with your head sticking out in front of your thorax; this is a very common posture in today’s society. Your head weighs 12 to 14 pounds and the forward head carriage multiplies that weight very significantly and causes you to feel the strain in your neck, shoulders and upper back. In addition, poor spinal alignment creates additional pressure on your spinal cord and the associated nerves that are exiting from between each of the vertebrae . Good posture is not just about looking good in a photograph; it is about setting yourself up for the greatest efficiency, performance, and longevity.
Large population studies have allowed us to establish normal values for spinal alignment and spinal curves. The doctors at Chiropractic Health and Wellness are specially trained to evaluate and then create interventions to correct and improve poor posture and spinal misalignments. We use specific exercises that patients can do on their own and in the office in order to strengthen and lengthen muscles that have gone out of balance. We also use specific mirror-image adjusting techniques to address spinal distortions. Finally, we utilize state-of-the-art traction therapies, both for in-home and in office use, in order to lengthen shortened spinal ligaments.
The good and bad news about the body is that it is very plastic. By “plastic” I mean that it has the ability to assume the shape of deforming forces when those forces persist over time and occur with enough frequency. The bad part of the news is that if you have lazy posture over long periods of time, it will change the shape of your spine and all of the tissues associated with it. The good part of the news is that with proper exercise, adjustments, and traction therapies the shape of the spine can be changed and you can, thereby, slow the aging process very considerably. Good posture is not just something pretty; it is something practical and helpful for your performance and longevity. Please do not hesitate to ask any of our doctors for help with your posture and ergonomics; it’s what we do.