Posture by definition is the “position in which we hold our bodies while standing, sitting, or lying down”. Good posture is the “correct alignment of body parts supported by the right amount of muscle tension against gravity”.
Good posture is very important because it helps us keep bones and joints in correct alignment so that our muscles are used correctly, decreasing the abnormal wear and tear of joint surfaces that could result in degenerative arthritis and joint pain. Good posture also prevents muscle fatigue.
What does poor posture look like? To the naked eye, it is most obviously seen in a slumping, forward leaning posture that gives the appearance of being slightly hunched over. The opposite condition – good posture – presents the appearance of standing straight up with the chest out and the shoulders back.
To maintain proper posture, you need to have adequate muscle flexibility and strength, normal joint motion in the spine and other body regions, as well as efficient postural muscles that are balanced on both sides of the spine.
Unfortunately, in a day and age where many people spend their days sitting behind a computer, poor posture is very common.
Other causes of poor posture include: stress, obesity, pregnancy, weak postural muscles, abnormally tight muscles, and high-heeled shoes. In addition, decreased flexibility, a poor work environment, incorrect working posture, and unhealthy sitting and standing habits can also contribute.
If you have poor posture, it may manifest itself in: abnormal gait, spinal curvature, unnatural tilting of the head and neck, misalignment of the hip joints, a differing height across both shoulders, an abnormal stance or a forward tilting of the pelvis. This is easily recognised by a chiropractor, as are the various musculoskeletal issues resulting from it.
Although the chiropractor cannot force good posture on a patient, he or she can realign the structures of the back, neck, hips and pelvis and recommend exercises to strengthen the core muscles or address any muscle imbalance that may exist as well as giving ergonomic advice.