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Posture and Your Health

Do you have good posture? It can contribute to increased energy, better breathing, improved circulation, greater confidence, a slimmer taller look, and improve overall health.

Healthy posture stems from understanding and maintaining balance between the four main curves of the spine.

You may see a Penguin. I see good posture. Shoulders are down and back, chest is out. Head is not leaning forward but inline with the body. Weight is distributed equally on both feet.

Good posture stems from understanding and maintaining balance between the four main curves of the spine.

There are two forward curves related to the neck and lower back as well as two backward curves related to the upper back and pelvis. It is these curves of the spine that give resilience and ability for the body to absorb impact. If a curve is flat, ligaments and muscles make up for the extra load which adds strain and causes pain. If the curves are more pronounced than normal the body has a more difficult time distributing weight and forces effectively causing added strain and pain. In either case, movement becomes less efficient which drains your energy.

Benefits of Good Posture

  • Helps keep bones and joints in correct alignment so muscles can be used properly.
  • Helps to decrease abnormal wear and tear of joint surfaces that could result in arthritis.
  • Decreases stress on ligaments holding joints of the spine together.
  • Prevents the spine from becoming fixed or restricted in abnormal positions.
  • Prevents fatigue as muscles are used more efficiently.
  • Prevents repetitive strain or overuse syndromes.
  • Prevents backache, muscular spasm, and headaches.
  • Helps you look strong and confident.

When standing your head, shoulders, and hips should line up, one comfortably above the other.

First, looking at posture from the side you should be able to hang a string in line with the back edge of your ear, the tip of your shoulder, the trochanter at the hip (the bony hard part you can feel at the side of your hip) , and just in front of the ankle bone.

Second, looking at posture from the back you should see that the head is not rotated (see more of the face on one side) or tilted, that your shoulders are level and not rotated, that the hips are level and not rotated, and that your feet are just slightly pointed outward.

If you experience back pain that restricts your activities and lasts for more than three or four days, stop holding back and visit a professional.

Many of us have a variety of bad postural habits that get in the way of good posture. Examples include heels with a height greater than two inches, carrying a heavy bag or purse over one shoulder, cradling the phone between your shoulder and ear, falling asleep on the couch in funny positions, and not sitting all the way back in a chair for proper support.

Common Contributors of Poor Posture

  • Weak muscles
  • Tight muscles
  • Decreased flexibility
  • Prolonged static positions
  • High heeled shoes
  • Foot pronation (flat feet)
  • Poor ergonomic work setup
  • Poor sitting and standing habits

Good posture involves training your body to stand, walk, sit, and lie in positions where the least amount of strain is placed on supporting muscles and ligaments during movement, weight-bearing activities, or at rest.

Current thinking suggests that an integrated approach is the best way to tackle uncomplicated back pain. A combination of specific exercise and manual therapy, together with eliminating the triggers of your pain are often successful in getting people pointed in the right direction towards a healthy back. A significant trigger, for example, is postural difficulties related to work and daily activities of living.

Many patients that I see sit much of the day or are on their feet most of the day or night. It is these static prolonged postures that cause most musculoskeletal pain.

Dr. Ormond is a chiropractor dedicated to providing clients with natural, gentle, evidence based health care in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. Services include: chiropractic treatment; soft tissue therapy; medical acupuncture; custom orthotic inserts and shoes; and rehabilitation. Posture advice to support the spine and relieve stress is a key element in patient care success.

Dr. Ormond's 10 General Tips for a Healthy Back

  1. Exercise regularly.
  2. Follow a healthy diet.
  3. Maintain good posture as much as possible.
  4. Do an active warm up before activity and stretch after.
  5. Don't overload your backpack or shoulder bag.
  6. Stretch your legs and back after each hour of sitting.
  7. Never cradle the phone between your neck and shoulder.
  8. Sleep on your back or side, not on your stomach.
  9. Invest in a good chair, pillow and mattress. It's worth it!
  10. Have regular spinal check-ups.

Back Problem Warning Signs

  • Leg pain with numbness, tingling, and/or weakness.
  • Back or leg pain with coughing or sneezing.
  • Difficulty standing up after sitting for any period of time.
  • Stiffness in the morning that decreases when you move around.
  • Pain in your hip, buttock, thigh, knee, or foot.
  • Inability to turn or bend to each side equally.
  • Unbalanced posture, when your head, neck, or shoulder may be higher on one side than the other.
  • Pain which prevents you from sleeping well.
  • Pain that persists or worsens after 48 hours.

Pointing clients in the right direction towards a healthy, pain free, and productive lifestyle is important to Dr. Mitch Ormond. Treating most conditions is the easy part, its following through with the decision to get a problem taken care of that is the hard part.

Call 416.598.4999, email Dr. Mitch Ormond , or drop by the clinic for more information. You can get specific directions to the clinic by filling out our Mapquest® form.

Find out more about how we can help with your individual health care needs. Appointments recommended.

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