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POSTURE: HOW IMPORTANT IS IT REALLY?

POSTURE: HOW IMPORTANT IS IT REALLY?

Living in the 21st century certainly has its perks. The rise and evolution of technology over the last 50 years means we can fly across the world in a day, communicate with a loved one half way across the world via a mobile phone and order our shopping online to see it delivered just a few days later to name few. It is true, we live in an age that is truly incredible.

With such a rise, and most of us using such wonderful technological devices on a day to day basis many of us find ourselves with achy shoulders, a crick in our neck, or at least observing that leading a sedentary lifestyle does not take care of our health; in fact, quite the opposite.

 While we have wonderful gadgets that help us track our steps, and clubs and classes that help get us moving, many of us still find it hard to get our bodies moving as nature intended.

 Have you ever observed someone with a head that leans forward? Or shoulders that droop and slouch? Although it’s not a pretty sight, poor posture can have more dramatic effects on our health than maybe we can imagine.

Just a few inches of forward head posture can double or even triple the amount of force absorbed by the joints, and effort required by the muscles in the neck and shoulders, leading to long term muscle strain, increased risk for disc herniation, premature wear through joints and impinged nerves. Someone that suffers irritation of these nerves can experience symptoms such a pain, in the area of irritation itself or along the path of the nerve, maybe into the arm or the head, jaw or face.

What’s more, the spinal cord that runs through the neck carries important messages to other tissues and organs in the body, so poor posture can help contribute to a catalogue of other health concerns.

Good posture allows for healthy movement (biomechanics) of the muscles, joints and nerves in the neck and shoulders. With these areas under an easier load, our spinal cord and its important messages are free to supply other structures of the body with optimal effect.

And so we can come to understand why observing posture can be a very good way of indicating the spinal health of an individual.

In a world in which progressively poor posture is the norm, most of us feel worry with regards to the health of our children. The world is beginning to realize that optimizing health, and aspiring to attain a healthy body can help set us up for a happy life.

How can we observe such health? Visually? Yes.

Postural analysis and assessment is crucial. What is particularly useful is a tool that can objectively measure small changes in posture, to help demonstrate to us whether we are winning the war against ‘text neck’ and the barrage of injuries associated with it on a personal level.

Postural applications allow us to objectively track an individual’s posture, without the use of radiation, allowing for safe scanning that can be done on regular basis.

For those with good posture, great!

For those that haven’t wonderful posture, there is some good news.

By gently and specifically adjusting the joints in the spine that take the most strain day to day, combined with exercises to help us use important spinal stabilizing muscles that switch off in our hunched day to day movement we can often see improvements in posture over a period of time, indicating an improvement in spinal health and well-being.

Poor posture and in turn spinal health is not something that just ‘is’ or that we may just have to live with, but it’s something that we can improve with suitable guidance and appropriate care.

Written by Dr Rebecca Shield

Image Credit: Body of Life Health Centre