As children we were told “Stand up straight!” “Pull your shoulders back!” We were often advised about the importance of good posture by our parents, but seldom taught why and how to achieve it?
The consequence of this is seen all around us; stiff neck, hunched shoulders, restricted breathing, tightness in the thighs, legs and ankles, backaches, headaches and a multitude of other painful symptoms.
Posture is the window to the spine and poor posture can indicate a problem with the spine and nervous system.
Slouching and forward head posture is the first indicator of poor posture. This compromises lymphatic drainage in the neck (cervical spine) causing further strain on the posterior neck muscles. It increases the load on the discs, joints and nerves and can lead to premature ageing or arthritis of the cervical spine. Some of the causes of this type of posture are sporting injuries, motor vehicle accidents, working with computers and loss of bone density. Postural problems can simply result from poor sleeping habits on soft pillows and unsupportive mattresses.
Another common postural problem is flattening of the normal curve of the lower back (lumbar spine), which leads to a backward tilt of the pelvis and anterior weight bearing of the lumbar spine. This causes an increase in disc pressure, chronic lower back pain, muscle pain, sciatica, weaknesses and circulation problems of the legs. The abnormal weight bearing of the spine can lead to arthritis of the joints and damage to the discs.
Chiropractors are expert at analyzing posture and spinal problems. They are trained to search for the problems that exist underneath poor posture.
Analyzing posture from the front, the Chiropractor looks for changes in stance ie. outward turning of the feet, alignment of the knees, leveling of the hips and pelvis, height differences of the shoulders, tilting of the head and neck. The side posture is analyzed, by the forward or backward tilting of the pelvis, forward head position and changes in the spinal curvatures. Deviations from normal alignment are an indication of changes in the spine. The gait or walking cycle is observed, as it is an important indicator of foot alignment and weight distribution, ultimately affecting spinal posture.
Changes in posture lead to distortions in spinal alignment and therefore vertebral misalignment (subluxation). This misalignment of the vertebrae affects the spinal joints and discs, causing changes in nerve function and therefore irritation of the spinal musculature and organs the nerve supplies. The long term effect of this misalignment (chronic subluxation) can lead to spinal disc and joint arthritis, irritation of multiple organs and glands of the body leading to chronic ill health and poor musculoskeletal function.How are these deviations in the spine corrected and how can the long term effects of this misalignments be reduced? Utilizing a combination of "Chiropractic adjustments" to restore the natural movement of the skeletal system and "neuromuscular rehabilitation" to retrain the muscular and nervous systems to maintain the corrected posture, the amount of stress on the body and the risk of injury is reduced.
Dr Vivienne Brimelow
Chiropractor, Neuromuscular and Occupational Rehabilitation Specialist