Posture and Chiropractic

 

What are the benefits of good posture?

 

“Sit up straight” or “don’t slump” is advice we have all probably heard at sometime during our lives, as someone is trying to tell us to fix our bad posture. But you may not understand why having good posture is so important, and all the benefits that good posture can bring about. Here are just some of the many benefits that having good posture1:

  • Less chance of pain in the neck or lower back – poor posture places stress on these areas and can cause pain
  • Decreased incidence of headaches – poor posture leads to increased muscle tension at the back of the neck which can cause tension headaches
  • Increased energy levels – when all of our joints are in their correct alignment this allows our muscles to work at their best, which stops them from using excess energy, so this energy can be used elsewhere in the body
  • Decreased risk of joint degeneration – poor posture places excess stress on some joints, which can eventually lead to degeneration
  • Increased lung capacity – slouching compresses your lungs, having good posture gives your lungs more room to expand
  • Improved circulation and digestion – just like your lungs, other organs can be compressed with bad positioning, good posture allows your organs to work at their best, helping with functions such as circulation and digestion
  • Improved core strength and reduce injury – good posture allows your core and back muscles to stay active and engaged, resulting in a strong core. This strong core protects our spine and minimises your chance of injury
  • Increased confidence – good posture can make you appear taller and more attractive to other people. Which also improves confidence and self-esteem

 

What can cause bad posture?

 

Numerous things can cause us to have bad posture including2:

  • Slouching when sitting or standing – this can place strain on your muscles and can also cause some of your muscles to stop working effectively, which could leave you more vulnerable to injury
  • Wearing high heels – this can cause an increased curve in you lower back, putting more stress on this area of your spine
  • Increased weight or pregnancy – excess weight around the stomach and pregnancy can also cause and increased curve in the lower back
  • Leaning on one leg when standing – this causes an imbalance to muscles, mostly around the pelvis, which can place extra stress on the pelvis and lower spine. This can also be caused by carrying a heavy bag on one shoulder, carrying a child on one hip, or even sitting with your phone or wallet in your back pocket
  • Hunching over when at a computer or on your phone – this usually causes tight chest muscles and weak upper back muscles, which can cause pain and stiffness in the neck, shoulders, and upper back

 

How can chiropractic help?

 

Chiropractic is extremely beneficial when it comes to improving posture. The first way chiropractic can help, is through the chiropractic adjustment. By adjusting segments of the spine that aren’t moving properly, chiropractors can return the normal movement and function to the joints of the spine. Bringing  overall balance to the body. This helps with postural imbalances such as having one hip or shoulder higher than the other, or when the natural curve in your neck has started to straighten out.

When the joints of the spine are moving properly, this better enables them to sit in the correct position. Also allowing the muscles around them to activate work properly to support the spine, thus creating better posture3. However, chiropractic adjustments alone aren’t going to give you perfect posture. You will have to put in some work yourself. As chiropractors have so much knowledge on the spine and posture they can provide you with many stretches and exercises that will help to improve your posture. They can also provide lifestyle advice such as how best to set up your seat, computer, and desk at work. Chiropractic care along with the advice given by your chiropractor can have an amazing impact on your posture4.

 

 

 

References:

 

  1. Jonaitis, J. (2018, September 18). 12 benefits of good posture — and how to maintain it. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/posture-benefits
  2. (2019, July 10). Common posture mistakes and fixes. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/common-posture-mistakes-and-fixes/
  3. Physio Works. (2019, March 17). What are the benefits of good posture? https://physioworks.com.au/FAQRetrieve.aspx?ID=31641
  4. American Chiropractic Association. (n.d.). Posture. https://acatoday.org/content/posture-power-how-to-correct-your-body-alignment

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Poor posture affecting women | One of the keys in healing is… | Flickr

Children and Mobile Phones

Children mobile phones - text neck

Research has shown us not to let children use mobile phones, either as a toy or to talk on. Their skulls are thinner and smaller than an adults and they will absorb more radiation into their developing brain.

If you have not already seen the documentary Mobilize, there is now an opportunity to watch it for free here. You can also find out more about the film by going to the Mobilize website here.

There are more informative links on cell phones and cancer, and also tips for safer cell phone use below.

Mobile phones and cancer in humans

Links to more studies are below:

Radio-frequency (RF) radiation in the microwave range produced by cordless and mobile phones. Cordless phone bases and cell phone towers have been classified by the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer as a “possible carcinogen” (type 2B).

Cellular phone use safety tips:

We realise that many people have jobs that require them to use a cellular phone in their day to day lives. While there is probably no way to make cellular phone use completely safe, there is information to help you reduce the risks of unavoidable cellular phone risk.

Ideally, cellular phone use should be minimised. The more cellular phones are used, the more cellular phone infrastructure is needed to support the phones use. Living close to cellular phone base stations has been associated with increased risk of cancer in several studies.

Mobile Phone use and Skeletal Alignment

If exposure to radiation and providing endless distraction isn’t enough… cell phone usage is responsible for yet another hazardous side effect! Text neck!

Chiropractors have observed that most people hunch over their mobile phones and developing neck and back strain, headaches, achy shoulders and even in their arms and hands.

If you are experiencing symptoms similar to the above and would like a professional opinion, then go see your chiropractor or feel free to contact Revolution Chiropractic.

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What’s Tech Neck And How It Affects Your Health

Posture

Tech neck is the term used to describe the neck pain and damage sustained from looking down at your cell phone, tablet, or other wireless devices too frequently and for too long. Children and teens are especially at risk for suffering symptoms of Tech neck. And it seems increasingly common. Recently, a patient came into my practice complaining of severe upper back pain. He woke up and was experiencing severe, acute, upper back muscle strain. I told him I believe the pain is due to the hours he was spending hunched over his cell phone.

Of course, this posture of bending your neck to look down does not occur only when texting. For years, we’ve all looked down to read. The problem with texting is that it adds one more activity that causes us to look down—and people tend to do it for much longer periods. It is especially concerning because young, growing children could possibly cause permanent damage to their cervical spines that could lead to lifelong neck pain and other major health issues such as:

Aches, fatigue, pain
Asthma
Disc compression
Early arthritis
Headaches
TMJ (temporomandibular joint) pain
Altered blood flow
Fibromyalgia
Forward head posture may also contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome.

Forward Head Posture (Tech Neck), Asthma and Heart Disease

One of the most prevalent and destructive imbalances has to do with the cervical curve. The natural curve in the vertebrae of the neck. When we lose the proper curvature of the cervical and lumbar curves, we lose as much as 50 percent of our spinal strength.

For every 2 cm that your head is held forward (rather than balanced properly over the body), it gains 5 kgs of weight. The muscles of your back and neck have to work that much harder to keep your chin off your chest and the muscles of your chin stay in constant contraction, compressing nerves and leading to headaches at the base of the skull or those that mimic sinus headaches.

This “forward head posture,” says University of California’s director of physical medicine and rehabilitation, Rene Cailliet, “can add up to 15 kg of abnormal leverage…” pulling “the entire spine out of alignment” and “may result in the loss of 30% of vital lung capacity.”

The curve of your cervical spine is referred to as “the arc of life” by neurosurgeons because these bones protect the brain stem. And are the thoroughfare for spinal nerves that affect every organ and function in the body.

Subluxation is the term for the compression and irritation of nerves because of misalignments of the spine. When the cervical curve is misaligned, the spinal cord stretches and shrinks in circumference, losing nerve conductivity.

Chiropractors make adjustments to the spine and help teach clients posture and habits that reverse these misalignments. Restoring the body’s natural functions and healing capabilities.

What Causes Forward Head Posture?

Forward head posture causes:
Computer use
TV watching
Video games
Backpacks
Trauma (Trauma leading to forward head posture can come in the form of car accidents, slips or falls, or even birthing trauma from forceps or vacuums.)

Nobel Prize recipient Dr. Roger Sperry says that “90% of the stimulation and nutrition to the brain is generated by the movement of the spine.” Only 10 percent of the brain’s energy goes into thinking, metabolism and healing, while 90 percent of brain energy goes into processing and maintaining the body’s relationship with gravity, Sperry demonstrated.

As forward head posture decreases lung capacity, it can lead to asthma, blood vessel problems and heart disease. The oxygen deficit affects the entire gastrointestinal system and can decrease endorphin production. This turns the perception of non-painful sensation into pain experiences, says Dr. Fishman.

A structural chiropractor can measure the curve of your “arc of life,” give you regular adjustments, lead you in spinal rehabilitation exercises, and teach you postural and working habits that will greatly improve your health and quality of life.

 

Chiropractor Auckland

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Desk Mobility

Here’s something that may come as a surprise to you – your body wasn’t designed to be in one position for more than 15 minutes. With many people working office jobs where they’re inside sitting for prolonged periods of time, 15 minutes of sitting isn’t even a warm-up, taking your body to the furthest point from mobility.

Ideally you want to be getting up every time to keep it moving and do what’s ideal for our body, but realistically, getting up every 15 minutes for a walk would make you wildly unproductive. Therefore, 30-60 minutes is a more reasonable goal. Even doing a short mobility routine or walk to get water whenever you become conscious about it is better than nothing.

Here are a few mobility routines that you can try out the next time you realize you’ve been in the same position for way too long:

Mobility routines

  • Standing Back Extension
    • Stand up straight and place your hands on your hips.
    • Bend backwards (extend your back) to your pain-free end range.
    • Hold that for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.
  • Scapular Retraction
    • Squeeze your shoulder blade together like you’re trying to hold a cup of water.
    • Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.
  • Neck Extension
    • Ensure proper posture and form (slightly extended low back and retracted shoulder blades).
    • Look up at the ceiling while relaxing your jaw (to get maximum ROM) and hold for 5 seconds. Then look down at the floor and keep it there for 5 seconds.
    • Repeat this about 8-10 times.

 

These mobility exercises were made to open your body up and work the opposite way that your office desk posture does. Now you know why you should stay moving and you have some tools under your belt to support this. Happy desking!

 

Chiropractor Auckland

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Maintaining Good Posture in the Car

The NZ Ministry of Transport released a survey in 2014 stating that people aged between 35-64 in New Zealand spend two-thirds of their total travel time driving. Just looking at the sheer number of cars on the road and the kind of traffic we experience here in Auckland, it doesn’t take a statistician to figure out that we spend a lot of our time in cars. All that time is enough to develop bad habits in posture and movement. Structural abnormalities in the spine tend to increase with prolonged driving, however, there are ways to maintain good posture and stop bad habits from developing.

Avoid “the lean”

Leaning back or to the side in your seat can create an S-shaped curve in your spine that puts uneven loads through your discs. This can contribute to structural problems such as anterior head syndrome and adaptive changes that lead to compensations in the natural curve of your spine.

The muscles adapt by lengthening or shortening and once they’ve been in that position for a prolonged period of time they’ll affect your movement patterns and contribute to structural shifts in the spine. Those structural shifts may not cause issues at first, but when they do it will take just as much time to undo it.

3 ways to find good posture while driving

  1. Sit right
    • Find a seat position where you can sit upright with your bottom touching the back of the seat. Have your hands comfortably on the wheel with mild elbow bend.
  2. Adjust your mirrors
    • Once you’ve found an ideal position adjust your mirrors so that you can use them effectively when in this position. That way you’ll always have a constant reminder to be the proper position to use the mirrors.
  3. Switch your sitting position
    • If you find yourself leaning to one side, try to lean on the other side for about 5-10 minutes. Since the driver’s seat is on the right in NZ, we tend to lean to the left, so you may find it awkward to lean to the right. This is because your brain is not used to your body being in this position. Challenge it and then return to neutral. Constantly switching positions is ideal because it allows certain muscles to have a rest when they’ve been on for prolonged periods of time.

Happy driving!

 

Chiropractor Auckland

Contact Revolution Chiropractic – Leading  Chiropractor Auckland

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portrait, cow, car, purple hair, girl | Pikist

Mobile Phone Posture

As a chiropractor, I look at a fair few x-rays from week to week and a concerning pattern I am seeing is the amount of people, young people, with necks that curve the wrong way. Less mobile, due to mobile use. The cervical curve should somewhat resemble a backward C when viewed from the side, the curve isn’t as much as a C but you get the idea. Many people coming in have a straight or reversed curved yet they don’t have any history of a neck injury.

A big factor that I believe contributes to this, and I am not alone, is the way most of us are using our smartphones and devices. Take a look around the next time you are in public. You will see the majority of people, especially young people, hunch over their phones with no idea of the impact it is having on their bodies.

The normal neck curve is designed to support the weight of the head and protect the spinal cord and nerves. When this curve gets altered it will cause the joints to wear out faster, which can lead to pain and even nerve issues later in life. A few extra kilos of effective weight on the neck is added for every inch forward of the shoulders that the head is.

What can you do about it?

  1. When you are using your mobile always have the screen at eye level. When your arm tires, then take a break!
  2. A more sustainable posture is to hold the device at eye level with one hand. Place your other arm across your belly as if you were folding your arms. Then use the back of your hand to support the elbow of the upright arm.
  3. Be conscious of how you hold your head and neck when working long hours on the laptop. Keep your chin tucked and head and shoulders back.

References:

Hansraj, K, “Assessment of Stresses in the Cervical Spine Caused by Posture and Position of the Head,” Neuro and Spine Surgery, Surgical Technology International XXV

Nejati P, Loftian S, Moezy A and Nejati M (2013), “The relationship of forward head posture and rounded shoulders with neck pain in Iranian office workers,” Medical Journal of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Vol. 28,26. 3 May 2014, http://mjiri.iums.ac.ir

Quek J, Pua Y, Clark R, Bryant A (2012), “Effects of thoracic kyphosis and forward head posture on cervical range of motion in older adults,” Manual Therapy, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.math.2012.07.005

 

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