The old Chinese proverb “as a twig is bent, so grows the tree” is particularly relevant to our spinal posture and is the reason why chiropractors place so much emphasis on posture, especially in children.
Good posture is not simply a matter of standing straight. It is the whole process of postural integration, which involves the efficient use of our bodies whilst moving and at rest.
Research has shown that a large proportion of school children have developed potentially serious postural abnormalities by age sixteen. It is no coincidence that by the age of forty a large percentage of the population suffer from chronic spinal disability.
Some postural problems can be genetic and are passed on from our parents or grandparents. Examples of such problems are scoliosis (lateral curvature of the spine) and excessive kyphosis (increased angulation of the spine). But many postural problems are caused by bad habits. You can tell your children as often as you like that they should stand up straight with their shoulders back and this will work for a few seconds. However unless we correct their habits we will not make the lasting changes needed to obtain correct posture.
Good posture when standing means of the body weight being distributed evenly over both feet with a tendency to have weight on the balls of the feet and not over the heels.
The knees are slightly bent and the pubic bone (front of the pelvis) tilted up with the buttocks tucked under the body. The upper trunk leans fractionally forward from the waist so that the ears, shoulders, hip, knee and ankle are in a vertical straight line when viewed from the side. This posture will stop excessive arching in the low back and rounding of the shoulders.
Good sitting posture is largely dependent upon a good chair. The hips should be slightly above the knees with a proper backrest supporting the lower back. Both feet should be flat on the ground or resting flat on an appropriate footrest. Legs should not be crossed. Unfortunately most lounge chairs are too soft and our hips are lower than our knees causing excessive pressure on the low back. The increased time that many people now spend at a computer makes a good workstation set up critical. Using an exercise ball as an alternative seat at regular intervals can be of benefit. Without a good seating posture you will often fall off.
Regular exercise is an important aspect of good posture. Without correct muscle tone it is very difficult for the body to maintain correct postural alignment and receive all the nutrients because of a reduced blood supply from tight muscles. Weak abdominal muscles and overworked back muscles are a common example of this.
Good posture is essential for the protection of the spine and, more importantly, the spinal cord and nerves. Interference to your nervous system can affect your body’s health potential. Chiropractic assessment, especially within the formative years of childhood and adolescence, can identify problem areas within an individual’s posture or spinal function even before symptoms are present. Early identification and correction is essential for optimal health now and in the future.
Your chiropractor is seeking to promote the outstanding benefits that chiropractic can achieve in keeping your body working properly, without any nerve interference. If you suspect that you or your family’ posture could be improved, consult your chiropractor for an appropriate assessment and advice.
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