Bad posture is a modern day health epidemic that is much worse than most people naturally assume.
Posture is the window into your spine. The spine has a powerful relationship with the brain, spinal cord, and overall organ function. This intimate connection means that poor posture and spinal health will lead to an overall decrease in brain and organ function.
Nobel Prize recipient Dr. Roger Sperry says that the spine is the motor that drives the brain. According to his research "90% of the stimulation and nutrition to the brain is generated by the movement of the spine." Only 10% of our brain's energy goes into thinking, metabolism, immunity, and healing. Sperry demonstrated that 90% of brain energy goes into processing and maintaining the body's relationship with gravity.
One of the worst types of health problems people experience is a loss of the natural curves of their spine. Ideally, we should have a 40-45 degree curve in our neck that many chiropractors and neurosurgeons refer to as "the arc of life." This curve helps to protect the brain stem and the spinal canal for the spinal cord and nerves that travel to every region of our body.
Subluxation is the term for misalignments of the spine that cause compression and irritation of nerve pathways affecting organ systems of the body. Subluxations can manifest as pain, but since only a small portion of spinal nerves transmit pain sensations they are often unnoticeable by the individual. Losing the arc of life in the neck, forward head posture, and scoliosis are three of the most dangerous forms of subluxation.
Subluxation patterns such as forward head posture and loss of the neck curve are most often created by trauma and/or poor posture. Examples of trauma include the birth process (especially with forceps delivery), falls, car accidents, & sporting activities. The typical individual in our society today spends at least 3-4 hours a day slumped in front of a television, computer, and texting cell phone. These behaviors cause the head to shift forward and create a lasting posture pattern called forward head posture.
This 'forward head posture' can add up to 30 pounds of abnormal leverage pulling the entire spine out of alignment and may result in the loss of 30% of vital lung capacity," says University of California's director of physical medicine and rehabilitation, Rene Cailliet.
As forward head posture decreases lung capacity it affects the body from effectively oxygenating cells. This can lead to asthmatic conditions, blood vessel problems and heart disease. The oxygen deficit affects the entire gastrointestinal system leading to altered nutrient absorption and peristaltic activity. Lowered oxygen states also decrease endorphin production turning the perception of non-painful sensation into pain experiences.
Some chiropractors specialize in corrective care techniques that reduce or eliminate forward head posture and restore the natural curves of the body. This is done through gentle & specific adjustments that take pressure off of the brain stem and nerve pathways and enhance function to the body. Corrective rehabilitative exercises are prescribed to address postural abnormalities and create lasting objective postural and x-ray changes. Specialized chiropractors are able to demonstrate these changes to the individual with pre-post x-rays, nerve scans, postural pictures and other technology.
Studies have shown that corrective based chiropractic care effectively reduces forward head posture and enhances the arc of life. A 2009 study by Morningstar and Jockers showed that this corrective process dramatically enhanced lung function. As the respiration process improves more oxygen gets into the body. This improves blood flow into every organ system of the body dramatically improving overall function.
6 More Reasons To Have Good Posture
1. It greatly improves your breathing. A good posture makes room for your lungs to function at their best – rather than being squashed when you hold your body in a slouch. Good lung function will have a healthy impact on all aspects of the body’s function.
2. It’ll protect your organs, bones, joints and muscles. Holding a correct posture will help reduce unnecessary strain and pressure on these body parts which occurs when the body is placed in an uncomfortable and unnatural position. Many neck and back pains develop from issues of poor posture.
3. It’ll protect your spine. Often the spine will become fixed in an abnormal position if we do not hold ourselves correctly. This can lead to the constriction of blood vessels and nerves and problems with the joints, discs and muscles. The spine is an important part of the body to take care of – a good posture eliminates many of the health problems that can develop when the spine has unhealthy mobility.
4. It prevents arthritis. Often when we have a poor posture, we place pressure on our joints in unnatural ways which leads to them wearing down abnormally. This in turn can lead to arthritis. A good posture gives our joints the chance to function at their best.
5. It helps you use your muscles more efficiently. This happens because your bones and joints will be in the correct alignment. As a result, you are likely to feel more energetic since your body will require less energy to move about.
6. It can have a dramatic impact on the way you feel. When people hold themselves in a good posture, rather than a slumped one, they send signals to their brain that makes them feel happier and more confident. It’ll also change the way that people see you – you’ll appear more confident and assertive too. And it could even make you look thinner since you’ll be using your abs to draw in your stomach muscles and will appear taller.
Good tips to help you maintain a good posture include holding your head straight without letting it tilt forward, backward or sideways. You should keep your shoulders back, your knees and your back straight, with your stomach tucked in. Do not tilt your pelvis forward and make sure the arches in your feet are supported. Stretch the top of your head towards the ceiling so that you stand tall.
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