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How's your posture?

by Dr. Amy Spoelstra
| November 17, 2010 8:00 PM

"Stand up straight!"

"Pull your shoulders back!"

Do those sound like familiar lines parents have been using forever? As children, we were told time and time again to straighten ourselves out, yet many of us simply didn't have a clue why this upright behavior was being demanded of us. We often hear that good posture is necessary but I don't think most people really realize just how essential good posture is for good health. We recognize poor posture when we see it in young and old alike. It's formed as a result of bad habits carried out over years.

Posture is defined as the position we hold our bodies while standing, sitting or lying down. Good posture is the correct alignment of body parts supported by the right amount of muscle tension against gravity. 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 pushing us forward.

So we wonder why our parents and our chiropractors know best in encouraging us to see the importance of good posture and encourage us to work on improving our posture. What are the benefits of good posture? If your posture is good, there will be less strain on supporting muscles and ligaments during movement and weight-bearing activities. Proper alignment of the spine when proper posture is present decreases the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces that could result in degenerative arthritis and joint pain. The likelihood of injury is also minimized because good posture reduces the stress on the ligaments holding the spinal joints together. And, of course, because our muscles will work more efficiently, the body will then use less energy and, therefore, prevent muscle fatigue.

So we now know how important our parents's messages were concerning our posture and realize that posture is more than just appearing confident but actually plays a big role in our overall health. Stress, obesity, weak postural muscles, high-heeled shoes (sorry ladies), pregnancy, car accidents and sports injuries are just a few causes for our posture taking a turn for the worst. In addition, poor work environment, incorrect working posture and improper sitting and standing habits can also contribute to poor body positioning.

Chiropractors are experts at analyzing posture and spinal problems. We search for the problems that exist underneath poor posture. Analyzing spinal curvatures and alignment, we search for the problems that contribute to the postural pattern that we observe. A part of an initial chiropractic exam includes an analysis of the patient's posture and a thorough check to detect what, if any, structural problems of spine the patient has.

Letting a posture problem go unchecked can lead to what we chiropractors refer to as a vertebral subluxation. A subluxation is where a bone, or multiple bones, of your spine will move out of position and put pressure on nerves in your body. When a bone moves out of place, it puts pressure on the vital nerves that exit between the bones and reduces their ability to function and carry these vital messages throughout the body.

So what happens when your nervous system cannot transmit all of these vital messages? The answer is that they get lost and are unable to get to their intended target. This can cause a whole laundry list of problems that can hamper your ability to be happy and healthy. After careful analysis, a chiropractor specifically adjusts your spinal bones back into place so that the nervous system is fully functioning.

If you have questions concerning posture and chiropractic care, please call us at 208-667-7434 or check us out on the web at www.CDAHealth.com. You'll also find us on Facebook and Twitter by searching, "Spoelstra Family Chiropractic."

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