5 Ways Your Bad Posture is Destroying Your Health
Admit it. At some point you’ve seen someone with such alarmingly bad posture, that you could have mistaken them for a caveman. Your mind fills with questions like: What happened to them? How did they get so hunched forward? Isn’t that painful? And most importantly, do I look like that? Next, you locate the nearest mirror, turn to the side, and start self-evaluating. You probably don’t like what you see, so you pull your shoulders back, lift your chin up, and walk away to never think about your posture again. Then one day you spot yourself in a photo and realize you are now the caveman.
You may not realize how your posture can wreak havoc on all your body systems. Next time you experience any of the following conditions, consider your posture and make it a point to get checked by your chiropractor.
Pain- Rounded shoulders, forward head carriage, and increased curvature in your upper back are more than just a cosmetic issue. Slouching causes a significant increase in stress on your body. Upper back and pectoral muscles become tight and sore while neck and lower back muscles become weak. In time, poor posture creates misalignments that present in the spinal column, known as subluxations, which ultimately lead to more pain. The body is designed to battle gravity in the upright position. Forward posturing forces the joints to bear heavier weight which eventually leads to the breakdown of joints and the surrounding connective tissues.
Poor Digestion– Sitting and slouching are a terrible combination. The digestive organs become compressed and in turn don’t function optimally. In time, this creates constipation, abdominal pain, and a slowed metabolism. Simply giving your digestive organs the room they need to function can be a game changer.
Chronic illness– Nausea, heartburn, abdominal cramps, headaches, and even shoulder injuries are common complaints of those with untreated postural deficiencies. Your sedentary job that has you slouched in front of a computer screen for 8 hours per day may cause you to gain weight. Carrying around extra body fat adds significant stress to your joints causing chronic aches and pains.
Low self-confidence & Depression– No one ever walked into a room with their head hung and shoulders rounded to make a stellar first impression on you. Your posture is viewed as a reflection of your mood and confidence. Decreased self-confidence can be a precursor to depression. People who sat more than 7 hours a day were nearly 50% more likely to report depressive symptoms than those who sat 4 hours or less. That’s a great reason to get out of your office chair and move. While you’re at it, check your posture and do some gentle stretching (ask your chiropractor for exercises that are best for your body).
Decreased cardiovascular function- When the spine is not in proper alignment, this affects the alignment and function of the rib cage which houses the heart and lungs. Your slouchy posture slowly compromises the space that these vital organs have to function in, which contributes to decreased cardiovascular output. It also alters the ability of the diaphragm and rib cage to properly expand for deep inhalation, making exercise challenging. This is the same reason why breathing problems including asthma occur with forward posturing.
Your posture and spinal health is a window to your overall well-being. Poor posture can negatively affect your health, mood, and energy levels. However, changing your posture can be just as challenging as quitting smoking or canning your junk food habit. Your chiropractor is a spine specialist and can assist you in making vital changes to your posture.
By: Dr. Melissa Kelling, D.C.