The previous posts talked about sleep, stress reduction and dietary recommendations. You can read the other blogs by clicking: Chiropractor Freehold Blog
Today we are going to discuss your posture. Your spine is the central support structure of your body. Your spine carries the neurological lifeline from your brain to all the other parts of your body. Your health really depends on the flow of energy through an unrestricted nervous system. When your spine suffers, your overall health can suffer too. When you respect your spine by taking good care of it, your spine will serve you well by offering its strength and flexibility for a long time to come.
When your posture and spinal alignment are off, it can also lead to pain, back pain, neck pain, headaches and migraines, numbness and tingling, stress, fibromyalgia, sciatica, arthritis, herniations and disc degeneration.
Here are my two top recommendations for taking care of your spine:
- Be ergonomically correct when you sit at a desk, stand, bend or reach. “Ergonomically correct” is a fancy term for body posture that doesn’t cause stress to your body.
For example, which three of these postures do you think would be ergonomically correct:
- Sitting with your legs crossed at the knees.
- Sitting with your legs crossed at the ankles.
- Bending straight over to pick up a box with knees locked for support.
- Bending over to pick up a box with knees bent.
- Standing in a crowd with your weight centered on one leg for a long time.
- Standing in a crowd with your weight centered over both feet with your shoulder, back and head centered over your spine.
The answer is 2. 4 and 6.
Ask me to check out your posture. I’ll be looking at you from the side to see if the center of your ear, the center of your neck, shoulder, hips, knees and ankle all form a straight line. If they don’t, then we need to work more on your posture.
Here’s how I remember how to stand correctly while lifting something heavy or just standing for long periods of time: I think to myself, “Brace yourself!” What I mean by this is that if I’m reaching down into the crib to pick up a baby, I must get ready for the act of lifting by bracing myself. I brace myself by bending at the knees and keeping the weight as close to my body as I can. The farther the baby is from my body, the more I’m at risk of injury.
Reaching for things far away from you is not a good habit if you want a strong spine. Instead of reaching out to push or pull something, get as close to the item as you can, then lift it after bracing yourself.
If you have to stand on your feet for a long period of time, don’t get in the habit of putting most of your weight over one foot or on one leg. Brace yourself by spreading your feet about shoulder distance apart, then stand solidly. You’ll feel better and look more confident as well.
Which of these are ergonomically correct?
a. Loading up grocery bags in your arms, then trying to open your door with a key while holding all those grocery bags
b. Sitting at a desk with the computer keyboard more than a foot away from the edge of the desk
c. Looking at your computer screen that is 2-1/2 feet away by moving your head forward
d. Sitting hunched in a chair or recliner
e. Looking down at your computer screen or TV
f. Doing dishes at the sink on top of a small rug or carpet strip
The answer here is f. Standing on a carpet decreases stress on the spine more than standing on a hard floor. That’s why a lot of the multimillion-dollar companies that set up booths at trade shows have carpeting in their booth on the floor. They want to make you feel more comfortable and reduce the stress on your body that you’ve been feeling by walking for long periods of time. It also helps their staff at the booth.
2. While I’m treating you, it’s important to NOT do any excessive lifting (over 15-20 lbs.) during the first 4-6 weeks of treatment. In some cases, vacuuming and other household chores like laundry may be limited as well. Ask me for specific instructions for your individual case.
So, now that we covered posture, next time we will be discussing your joints and nutritional support, so stay tuned.
Until then, have a chiropractor check your spine, as we are the ONLY health professionals properly trained to analyze, detect and correct subluxations which are misalignments of the vertebra that put pressure on the nerves and spinal cord and will decrease your over health and function. Give your body the chance to be healthy naturally without drugs and surgery!