How Can I Correct My Poor Posture?

Posted in Chronic Pain Poor posture on Jul 27, 2017

What does proper posture look like?

It is a common question; How can I fix my posture? Or can chiropractic improve my posture? The answer is posture is an inside job but there are things you can do from the outside(exercises and ergonomic modification) that can help. The postural muscles throughout the spine are controlled by the brainstem which sits inside of the atlas and axis vertebrae of the upper cervical spine. Therefore, normal postural muscle tone is a function of normal brainstem function. If the upper cervical spine is in its proper alignment and the tissue surrounding the joints has not been injured, the postural centers will coordinate proper tone and the body will be in its normal erect posture.

Proper nerve supply to the muscles causes muscle alignment and normal posture. Injuries to the upper cervical spine can cause the postural centers to function abnormally and cause muscles to become tense that pull the body forward or off-center to the right or left leading to postural imbalance. Correcting this underlying neurological cause can help fix your posture. Proper posture can be trained. Our daily living in this fast-paced world causes us to be in positions that do not support normal body posture. As a result, workplace stress, poor ergonomics, excessive driving, texting with your head down, and other factors can encourage poor posture. In this article, we will discuss a little-known procedure that focuses on the relationship of the upper cervical spine and the brainstem and also discuss things you can do in your life that can combat all of the modern lifestyle choices that can lead to bad posture. 

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There are two dimensions in which posture can be assessed. When looking at a person from the back the shoulders should be level, the head should be centered, and the hips should be balanced from left to right. From the side view, the head should be balanced over the shoulders and not slouching forward. If a line was drawn vertically it should pass from the ear canal downward through the acromion (bump on the top of the shoulder) through the trochanter of the femur bone and through the lateral malleolus of the lower leg bone. Inlay terms, the head should not slouch forward but be centered over the shoulders, the upper back slightly rounded, the lower back slightly concave, balanced an upright over the pelvis and lower legs.  

Posture definition: the position in which someone holds their body when standing or sitting Perfect posture is a rarity these days because of all the influences of daily living that fight against the upright living. Today we have adults and kids averaging 3-5 hours on cell phones with their heads bent down, school ages kids carrying around heavy backpacks, slumped over computers, texting, commuting long distances in cars, sitting for 8 hours at work, and other modern lifestyle factors that encourage poor posture. There is good news. There are many things that you can do that can help combat the modern life that is perpetuating poor posture.   

Things You Can Do Now To help your Posture - Posture Support

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How to sit properly-proper sitting posture - How to Fix Your Posture 

Most of us, whether it is at work, in a car, or while watching tv or the computer tend to slouch. When we slouch our lower back curve reverses from normal and our head lurches forward as we look at what we are focusing on. One way we can help fix our posture while sitting is to make sure that we have low back support. Low back support, with lumbar support, forces us to sit in an erect posture. When the lower back curve is supported we naturally sit upright, and our head retracts above the shoulders. Also, it is important while sitting to make sure that our computer monitor, tv or other viewing object is at eye level. These simple sitting adjustments can help you fix your posture.   

How to Correct Posture Through Posture Exercises And Muscle Alignment-Posture Correction 

There are several simple exercises that you can implement into your daily life that combat slouching, forward head carriage, and other modern lifestyle factors that can help fix your posture.   

With exercises - This is a simple but powerful exercise. Lie on your stomach. Move your arms above your head and then bend them at the elbow forming a U. Then gently lift your head off the floor while at the same time moving your shoulder blades together and elbows and arms slightly off of the ground. Hold this W position for 20 seconds. Do two reps and eventually build to three reps daily.  This simple exercise can strengthen the erector muscles of the back that hold you in an upright posture. This is a great exercise to help fix your posture.

Towel Roll Exercise Roll a bathroom towel or beach towel up into a cylinder. Lie on your back and place the cylinder underneath your neck. If you are completely relaxed, the towel is underneath your neck, and your head is still touching the floor then you need to roll the towel up a little fatter. The proper thickness reached when your head is off the ground slightly and you are completely relaxed. This exercise stretches the soft tissue, encourages the normal cervical curve in the neck, and can provide relief from tight neck and shoulder muscles that occur due to stress and modern living. This exercise will help fix your posture in less than 7 minutes a day.   

Kettle Bell Swings - This is another simple exercise that strengthens the erector spinae muscles of the spine that encourage upright posture. To learn more about kettlebell exercises read this link.   

Lumbar Support in the Car - If you are like most Americans, slumping while driving is your specialty! Many of us commute long hours, especially in Los Angeles. Having lumbar support that forces you to sit upright can not only help preserve posture while sitting it can reduce repetitive strain on the low back discs and reduce strain on the entire spine. This can help fix your posture while driving.   

No More Forward Head Bending on iPhone or Tablets - In our household is our kids are caught with their heads looking down while on devices they lose their devices for a week. Text neck is a condition in which habitually carrying the head in a flexed position is encouraging the reversal of normal cervical spine posture. There are a plethora of articles in the research journals being written about a new condition called text neck. This simple lifestyle modification can help fix your posture.  

How To Fix Bad Posture -How to Fix Your Posture- The Neurological Key to Good Posture 

Visiting a Blair Upper Cervical Chiropractor to correct posture is a smart move. Because the upper cervical spine houses the brainstem and the nerve centers that control posture, making sure that the vertebrae in the neck are not misaligned is vital to proper posture and health. Perfect posture cannot be attained without a normal nerve supply to the muscles that maintain great posture. Blair upper cervical chiropractors are specially trained to locate and correct structural misalignments in the upper cervical spine. 

While the goal of Blair's upper cervical care is not to correct posture, it is a side benefit of removing nerve interference. The exercises that we talked about in the above article are supplementary to Blair's Upper Cervical Care.  Since the postural centers are located in the brainstem, it is paramount that this area of the spine is not compromised by prior neck injury. Blair Upper Cervical Chiropractors take precise imaging in the form of cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) or digital x-ray to determine the exact direction of joint misalignment. This works because the joints in the neck are mirror images of one another.  

Therefore, if a whiplash or other injury damages the soft tissue and ligaments that support the normal joint motion, and the joints become misaligned. Imaging the joints will allow the doctor to see how you are out of alignment and the angulation of your joints. This information is then used to make a precise spinal correction unique to the individual's misalignment and anatomy. Once corrected, the patient is then monitored over time to ensure that the body is healing, and the correction is staying on its normal range of motion. If on subsequent visits the vertebrae have misaligned again another correction is administered. If the objective tests indicate that there is no interference and the vertebrae are in their proper range of motion, then no correction is necessary. 
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