The way in which you hold your body upright, against gravity in various positions such as standing, walking, sitting etc is referred to as our posture. The vertebral column or the back bone provides your body with a rigid support structure for your internal organs, joints and muscles. Any deviation from the natural positioning of what your spine should be, may result in a defected posture and all the consequences of such…
Some facts about your “back” or vertebral column:
- The vertebral column (also known as the backbone or the spine), is a column of approximately 33 small bones, called vertebrae
- Your vertebral column is made up of 5 parts
- Cervical ( neck) – has 7 vertebrae
- Thoracic (mid-back) – has 12 vertebrae
- Lumbar ( lower back) – has 5 vertebrae
- Sacrum – 5 fused bones
- Coccyx ( tail bone) – 4 fused bones
- When viewed from the side, the three natural curves give it an S Shape. The cervical and lumbar regions have a C- shaped curve (lordosis) whilst the thoracic region has a reverse C- shaped curve (kyphosis)
- These curves help the spine withstand great amounts of stress by providing an even distribution of body weight
WHAT IS NORMAL/GOOD POSTURE
Good posture involves training your body to stand, walk, sit and lie in positions where the least strain is placed on supporting muscles and ligaments during movement or weight-bearing activities.
If you would like to assess your own posture: stand as comfortable as possible and have someone take a picture of you from the side. When looking at your picture, place a dot on your ear lobe, the tip of your shoulder, at the hip, knee and ankle. When you connect the dots, does it form a straight line?
The truth is that many of us may not see a straight line which does not necessarily mean that you have a “dysfunction”. But if you have been living with aches and pain, recurring / have a susceptibility to sports injuries or injuries that just never heal, its worth having your posture assessed AND begin work on correcting your posture.
HOW DO WE DEVELOP POOR POSTURE
HABIT!…In the 21st century, our occupation and lifestyles determines whether we can stand tall or stand slouched. Our vertebral column, muscles, joints and nerves strains considerably when sitting 8 hours per day at a desk, in front of a computer or standing for long periods, then we sit in traffic to get home. Eat. Sleep. By which time, the muscles in your neck are too tense to properly support your neck upright, the muscle in the front of your neck (Sternocleidomastiod) tries to assist, however over a prolonged period, this muscle draws your neck forward. The muscles of your neck become elongated, as your head is drawn forward, this automatically causes your shoulder to become rounded. A series of muscle imbalances continues into the hips, pelvis, knees ( remember the advert…Your hip bones connected to your…knee bones…Your knee bones connected to your Ankle bones…its true, it really is a chain reaction!)
A postural assessment done by a Chiropractor, aims to locate the problems that are at the root of poor posture. This is done by analysing spinal curvatures, movement and alignment. Some of the postural analyses a Chiropractor undertakes, includes assessing a patient for:
- changes in stance (eg. The outward turning of one or both feet)
- alignment in the knees
- levelling of the hips or pelvis
- height differences across the shoulders
- tilting of the head and neck
- forward tilting of the pelvis
- forward head translation
- increase in the spinal curvatures
- changes to gait (walking)
A Postural assessment and correction with treatment/exercise regimens aimed at the particular individual, assists in the long term management of the presenting complaint.
WHY SHOULD YOU GET YOUR POSTURE ASSESSED?
Maintaining proper posture reduces the risk of acquiring common injuries. These injuries often include ankle sprains, tendonitis, and lower back pain which are caused by prominent muscle imbalances. Knowing how to best maintain the right posture allows for better biomechanics thus allowing your body to experience proper joint motion. Because of the fluid movement proper posture allows, the body is able to generate higher levels of functional strength.
Until next time,
Anca WesselsRead More