The month of May is National Correct Posture Month. Parents and teachers are being urged to closely examine the unexpected dangers of poor posture, and to be more aware of the risks associated with heavy backpacks, improper computer ergonomics and physical inactivity.
According to Dr. Dana Weissman Timmins, poor posture is a problem that is often recognized but virtually ignored. Back pain, neck pain and headaches are some of the resulting symptoms of postural deficiencies, but these symptoms are often not evident until adulthood. Posture problems usually start during childhood, and if steps are taken early, many of the problems adults have can be averted.
Beyond back pain, poor posture can cause more problems than you may think. Slouching adds more stress to the muscles and joints, which in turn can lead to accelerated arthritis and degeneration of the joints. It also impairs breathing, which causes oxygen deprivation, contributing to fatigue. Poor posture impedes circulation and can wreak havoc on digestion.
By keeping the bones and joints in correct alignment, the benefits of correct posture can be experienced in the form of less wear and tear on the body. The muscles work more efficiently and require less energy, resulting in less fatigue and muscle strain. Fewer aches and pains will be experienced, and overall physical appearance is enhanced.
Poor posture can result from simple everyday activities — leaning over paperwork or straining to peer at the computer screen. Spending all day, tapping away on a computer keyboard, followed by slouching in a recliner for hours while watching TV is a sedentary lifestyle pattern that many people follow on a daily basis resulting in the body adapting improper posture.
The largest postural discrepancy is forward head posture. Ideally, the head should sit directly on the neck and shoulders, like a golf ball sitting on a tee. As the head protrudes forward to accommodate our daily activities, an increased load is placed on the muscles of the neck and upper back. Since the weight of the head is similar to that of a bowling ball (12-16 pounds), you can easily see just how much strain we are talking about.
In fact, for every inch that the head projects forward, the weight experienced by the muscles of the neck doubles. For example, if the head weighs 10 pounds, two inches of forward head posture would result in the equivalent of 40 pounds of strain placed on the muscles of the neck! The human neck is designed to hold 10 to 14 pounds — not 40 or more pounds!
Your head is supported by seven cervical (neck) spinal bones. Several nerve roots travel from the spinal cord to the base of the neck and into your arms. Stationary, nonmoving postures, such as the positioning during computer use can cause the neck muscles to work so hard, discomfort and stiffness results. The nerves that feed your arms and hands pass through these muscles and can also be affected, resulting in pain, tingling and weakness in the arms and hands. Carpal tunnel symptoms are often caused by neck problems due to the pinching of nerves in the neck.
Other postural issues may be the result of scoliosis, which is a sideways curvature of the spine. A front to back view of the spine should demonstrate the spinal column as a straight stack of 24 spinal bones stacked on top of each other. A sideways bending of the spinal column is called scoliosis. If detected early, scoliosis may be curable, and certainly is manageable.
If you notice the same postural distortions occurring repeatedly in yourself or your loved ones, bring them to see a chiropractor. Long-term postural problems need to be corrected as soon as possible to prevent injury, slow the arthritic process and keep your nerves clear of interference that could lead to a plethora of health problems. Chiropractors are experts in the structural system and are trained to correct or manage postural deficits to keep your body working at its highest level.
Bring your family to Bellmore Village Chiropractic & Wellness for a FREE Postural Check-up with Dr. Dana! Find out why "Life is Better When You're Well Adjusted!"