Picture Perfect Posture Program Part III
Good Posture & Aging
Poor posture extracts a high price as you age because it can:
1) Limit your range of motion - muscles can be permanently shortened or stretched when a slumped over position becomes your normal position. Muscles and ligaments that have been shortened or stretched no longer function as they should.
2) Increase discomfort and pain - it can often cause headaches and pain in the shoulders, arms, hands and around the eyes resulting from a forward-head position. Rounded shoulders can trigger the headaches at the base of your skull where the shoulder muscles attach. Look to Active Health Chiropractic with help in these areas.
3) Create pain in the jaw - a forward-head position can lead to jaw pain. This kind of pain (known as TMJ, temporomandibular joint syndrome) was once considered only a dental problem. Today, Look Active Health Chiropractic we knows that TMJ pain also may be caused or aggravated by faulty posture.
4) Decrease lung capacity - reducing the amount of oxygen in your body can decrease the space in your chest cavity, restricting efficient functioning of your lungs.
5) Cause low back pain - one of the most common consequences of bad posture. For people over 35, Active Health Chiropractic knows that low back pain is often interpreted as a sure sign of age, although it may have been developing since childhood.
6) Cause nerve interference - your spine is the basis of posture. If your posture is bad, your spine can be misaligned. Spinal misalignments may cause interference in nerve function.
7) Affect proper bowel function - even this important bodily task may be affected by faulty posture. If you have a rounded shoulder, head-forward posture, it may affect your bowels. If your spine arches and sways forward, your intestines may sag and cause constipation.
8) Make you look older than you are - when you are slumped over, or hunched over, not standing straight, you can add years to your appearance.
Active Health Chiropractic tips for improving your posture
1) When standing - hold your head high, chin firmly forward, shoulders back, chest out, and stomach tucked in to increase your balance. If you stand all day in a job like a cashier or clerk, rest one foot on a stool or take breaks to get off your feet for a while.
2) When sitting - use a chair with firm low back support. Keep desk or table top elbow high, adjust the chair or use a footrest to keep pressure off the back of the legs, and keep your knees a little higher than your hips. Get up and stretch frequently--every hour if you sit for long periods of time. Do not sit on a fat wallet; it can cause hip imbalance!
3) When working on a computer - take a one or two minute task break every 20 minutes when you work at a computer screen. Keep the screen 15 degrees below eye level. Place reference materials on a copy stand even with and close to the terminal.
4) When sleeping - sleep on your side with your knees bent (preferably with a pillow between your legs) and head supported by a pillow, to make your head level with your spine. Don't sleep on your stomach.
5) When sitting in the car of driving your big rig as a DOT Medical Exam Card Holder - adjust the seat forward so your knees are higher than your hips. Put a small pillow or cushion in the small of your back.
6) When lifting - let your legs do the work in order to prevent injury to your low back. Stand close to the object, then where possible squat down and straddle it. As a commercial vehicle driver with a DOT Medical Card, you may be asked to unload your trailer. If so, Active Health Chiropractic would recommend grasping the object and slowly lift the load by straightening your legs as you stand up. Carry the object close to your body.
7) When bending - never twist from the waist and bend forward at the same time. To lift or reach something on the floor, bend the knees while keeping the back straight.
If you follow these practices, but still feel discomfort and pain related to specific activities, visit Active Health Chiropractic periodically for spinal checkups and for a postural evaluation for yourself and for your children.