What Posture Are You?
I am sure many of us have been told that a poor posture can cause back and neck pain over time. A lot of people then try to improve their posture and one of the concepts I preach a lot about is how your spine will adapt overtime.
In basic terms, your body tries to keep your eyes on the horizon and your spine as close to the midline as possible. So, if an imbalance is developed somewhere in your body, your spine will try and correct it.
For example, your hips are tilted more forward than normal. If left alone, the body will fall to the front and tip over. Therefore, to prevent this from happening, the spine lowers the centre of gravity of the body by increasing the curve of the midback, now leaving us with a slouched/hunchback. Finally, counterbalance the midback changes, the head moves forward and away from the body creating a protruding head carriage.
Here are the few most common types of posture observed:
- The head is displaced forward and away from the centre of the body.
- The upper back is rounded increasing the curve of the midback.
- In some cases, vertebral fractures due to osteoporosis or a spinal deformity called Scheurmann's disease (more commonly seen in young males) can create a noticeable hump.
- The low back curve is overextended with the belly protruding forward.
- The head is displaced backwards behind the centre of the body.
- Shoulders may also be pulled back too much causing tightness around the neck.
- Over straightening of the knees causing constant hamstring tightness.
- An abnormal sideways curve of the spine.
- Shoulder height is uneven (Left higher than right or vice versa).
- A protruding hump on one side when bending forward.
- Uneven pelvic height (Left higher than right or vice versa) may contribute to low back pain in prolonged standing.
- Scoliosis can be a congenital problem, but it may also be caused by improper function of the muscles holding the spine.
The moral of the story is look deeper than the one obvious imbalance to make a longer lasting change. Understand what kind of posture you are adapting first instead of attacking only where the pain is. If you do that, your problem most likely will never be fixed permanently, because it is all connected.
Share this with a friend who needs to improve their posture!
By Iris Tan
B.App.Sc (Chiropractic) M.Clin.Chiropractic.
Memb: CA, Gonstead (Australia)