Dr. WildePoor Posture: A small problem can cause big pains!

Written by Dr. Jordan Wilde, DC

Milwaukie Spine and Sport

Life is Hard on Posture

With the too often frantic pace that we live our lives at today we often forget do the little things that have been known for ages to help us be happy and healthy. Your mom was right, likely about more than we would care to admit, you should not slouch. Instead, sit or stand up straight and tall. It is so simple to say this and we have all heard it before but lets take a few moments and talk about why.   

Poor posture is something that I fear is becoming more common. Too often I see people sitting or even standing with their heads leaning, shoulders and upper back slouched forward. Does this sound familiar? Likely, because generally to be able to work on something we need to see it. Especially now with the prevalence of computers, tablets, and smartphones we have in our work, leisure, and social time, we are often spending long amounts of time working on a small tool in our hands. These activities cause us to either start in or end up in a poor posture: head forward, slouched shoulders and upper back. After all, our bodies did not evolve to work on electronics.

Spinal Curves

There are curves naturally in our spine that are designed to distribute the weight of our body evenly. The human head is as heavy as a bowling ball and when our head leans forward, called anterior head carriage, the natural curve in our neck is altered. Poor posture or anterior head carriage leads to increased pressure and stress on the muscles and joints on the back of your neck, shoulders and upper back. This leads to pain, stiffness, muscles spasms, often numbness or tingling in your arms/hands and headaches.

We have all seen elderly women and men who are so bent forward that they are looking at their feet all day. The natural curves in their spine have been altered or are gone causing it to be uncomfortable or even impossible for them to sit or stand up straight. The good news is that they did not get like that overnight, but sustained poor posture can speed up these undesirable alterations to the natural shape of our spine.

Correcting Posture Problems

So what should we do? Lets start off by listening to your mom and sit or stand up tall and straight. Limit time spent working in one position to an hour at a time, get up and move around to allow your body to stretch and return upright. If prolonged time spent working in one position is necessary, make your work space as ergonomically efficient as possible. Stay active, this will help keep your body limber and reduce your stress physically and mentally. If this is not enough, consider Chiropractic treatment to help improve your posture, aches, and pains.