How Posture Affects Your Health

Your mother always said don’t slouch – turns out she was right. And she has science to back it up. Your posture can have a profound effect on your health. Walking or sitting with a hunched back has been linked to a variety of health issues. 

What’s more, poor posture can cause your body’s structure to change, leading to misalignment. While everyone slips a bit in the posture department now and then, the real damage occurs when it becomes a habit. In fact, you could be damaging your health with bad posture and not even realize it. Here are five ways that posture mistakes can harm your health.

Pain in the neck, back, and shoulders

Sitting in a slouched or hunched over position, drooping your shoulders, or rounding out your spine while standing or sitting can cause pain in your neck, back, and shoulders. Many people who work with computers as a regular part of their jobs experience this to some degree.

That is because the majority of workers do not have their computer monitors at the appropriate height, causing them to spend hours a day hunched over their keyboard. People who spend a lot of time on their smartphone and mobile devices experience text neck, which is caused by this type of poor posture.

Increased depression and stress

The connection between posture and mood has long been established. People who walk slouched over tend to feel more depressed and have a poorer self-image.

When you are slouched, you are restricting blood flow throughout your body, inhibiting proper oxygenation of your cells, and crowding your organs so that they are not able to function at an optimum level. If your spine or body is out of alignment, it can slow the neural processes that keep your body functioning as it should. When all these things are going on, your mood will definitely be affected, especially if you aren’t as active as you should be.

Pain and weakness in the lower back, hips, knees, and ankles

This posture problem is common in people who are obese and pregnant women. The added weight causes the body to shift in unnatural positions in order to support it.

This postural problem can also be the result of inappropriate footwear. Feet are important! Take care of them by wearing shoes with good support. This can cause flat feet and cause the ankles to roll.

The calf muscles will tighten and your knees may even rotate inward. You can experience plantar fasciitis, pain in your toes, heel spurs, bunions, and hip problems. Weight loss can help and pregnant women can benefit from a pregnancy sling or pregnancy girdle to support the added girth.

Digestion problems

Sitting in a hunched position crunches up everything inside, including your intestines. This will slow things down considerably, leading to constipation and even hemorrhoids.

The human body was designed to remain in a certain position so that all organs can function as they should. When things are out of alignment it can lead to indigestion, heartburn, and even acid reflux. Practicing good posture can make all the difference in a lot of things. Poor digestion can lead to obesity.

Spinal misalignment leading to many health issues

When your spine is out of line it can cause headaches, dizziness, and a host of other issues. It puts your body under stress so even the normal processes like blood flow and organ function are thrown off kilter. When your body isn’t working as it should the risk of serious conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension are increased.

Many people don’t make the connection between good posture with a properly aligned spine and better health, but it is definitely there. Posture may seem simple, like it’s not that big of a deal, but when it is practiced on an ongoing basis, it can be detrimental to your health. It isn’t worth the risk; not when the fix is as simple as sitting up straight.

MOVEMENT, EXERCISE and HEALTH

There is a certain level of movement ability that everyone has to have in order to be healthy, active, and pain free. Daily activities like getting in and out of bed, walking, going up steps, picking something up from the floor, brushing your hair, and getting up from a chair all require you to be able to move. To do recreational and sporting activities you need an even higher degree of movement, strength and endurance.

Just like a car needs to be driven and have routine maintenance to keep running, our bodies need to be moved and stressed in the right way to stay healthy and pain free. If joints are not moved, muscles aren’t stressed, and bones are not loaded, we get stiff, weak, and lose our ability to move without pain and tolerate the demands of life. Stiffness, weakness, and an inability to tolerate loading contributes to things like joint and muscle pain, arthritis, and osteoporosis.

So the first question is how do we maintain our ability to move without pain as well as our ability to perform daily and recreational activities?

The answer is we use a regular exercise routine that is personalized. This allows us to consistently practice movements needed for everyday life and fix individual movement dysfunctions.

Unfortunately, just being active in your day to day life, or getting the right number of steps per day, or doing activities like yoga is not the answer. While these are good things and can be help some aspects of health, they most likely won’t be comprehensive enough or individualized to what you truly need. The right kind of exercise needs to help with maintaining strength, cardiovascular health, and our bodies ability to tolerate stress. It also needs to focus on preventing muscle tightness, keeping muscle tissue healthy, and preventing pain from occurring. And it needs to be changed and adapted from time to time based on what your body needs.

The second question is if you have pain or an injury that prevents you from moving and exercising what do you do?

In the majority of cases, a person’s pain or injury is a direct result of poor movement, strength, and their ability to tolerate loading. So to fix the cause of this pain we need to restore proper and pain free movement, then build functional strength.

Most often someone that specializes in movement and treating pain will evaluate your movement and perform a combination of manual and movement based therapies to first relieve your pain and restore proper movement. When pain is gone or at least controlled and movement is at an acceptable level, treatment focuses on building strength and progressively loading your body to maximize function. Then once again an individualized and comprehensive exercise program is used to help you stay healthy, active, and pain free.

We are programmed to go to the doctor once a year for an annual physical and go to the dentist 2 times a year for cleanings. Even though we go to the dentist 2 times a year we know it’s important to brush our teeth and floss on our own.

Your doctor probably does annual blood work to monitor things like cholesterol and tells you to exercise and eat better to maintain a healthy weight. But they don’t evaluate your movement or give you the tools needed to exercise effectively.

We know it’s important to maintain our ability to move but often we either don’t know how, assume it will happen on its own, or are given the wrong information.

If you have pain, want to lose weight, build strength, improve flexibility, or want to stay healthy and active schedule a FREE discovery session with one of our movement experts.

To schedule call us at 614-392-2792

Let us know if you have any questions!,

How Chiropractic Helps Infantile Colic

If you have ever cared for an infant with colic, you know how frustrating and helpless it can make you feel. It is so hard to see a little one in such obvious discomfort and you can’t help them no matter what you do. When you have a baby who experiences frequent colic it can be heartbreaking. An infant is so small and they can’t tell you where it hurts or what is wrong; all they can do is cry. 

Chiropractic has been proven to help with infantile colic. It can soothe fussy babies and ease the nerves of frazzled parents. Some moms and dads may be a little ambivalent about the idea of having a chiropractor “work” on their baby, but the benefits are incredible – and baby’s comfort is definitely worth it.

What is colic?

Colic is a condition that has frustrated parents since the beginning of time. The most prevalent symptom is the severe distress that occurs over predictable periods of time. It is labeled colic when there is no obvious underlying condition that could cause the distress, and occurs in babies that are newborn to 3 months (sometimes up to 6 months), healthy and well fed.

The bouts of crying and distress can last hours, days, or even weeks. Often it seems that there is no way to comfort the baby or provide relief. Symptoms of colic include:

  • Crying that does not seem to have a reason
  • Crying that is intense and indicates obvious distress
  • Crying that occurs at predictable times
  • Changes in posture that include tense abdominal muscles, clenched fists, and curled legs.

What to expect when you take your infant to a chiropractor

Some parents may balk at taking their infant to a chiropractor, their minds filled with images of the stereotypical snap, crackle, and pop that is so often associated with the practice. However, infant chiropractic is different and much milder. Chiropractic adjustments for infants are very gentle.

The chiropractor will use his fingers to gently apply pressure to areas on the back and neck. Most babies completely relax as the doctor corrects the misalignments – some even fall peacefully asleep. When you are choosing a chiropractor for your baby, ask if he or she is experienced in working with babies.

How chiropractic to treat colic works

Childbirth is not a gentle experience. As the baby’s tiny body is compressed and stretched as it is emerging into the world, it can cause the vertebrae of the neck and back to become misaligned. If the delivery included vacuum extraction, forceps, or prolonged pushing, or other things that doctors or midwives must do to assist in delivery, the chances that the baby will experience misalignment are very good.

When these misalignments, called vertebral dysfunctions, are significant enough, it can impede on how well other major systems in the body are able to function. Digestion is one area that can be greatly impacted and when digestion of formula or breastmilk is compromised it can be the cause of major distress and discomfort for the baby. This can lead to episodes of colic.

Studies that support how chiropractic helps infantile colic

There have been several studies that explores the efficacy of chiropractic for colic. The majority of this research has shown that it is a very effective treatment.

A 1999 study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics reported that spinal manipulation for colic is a very effective treatment for the condition. Babies treated using chiropractic experienced a decrease in crying by 67 percent. Babies who received medication experienced a decrease in crying by 38 percent. Another study showed similar results. Chiropractic improved crying behavior in babies that had colic.

Chiropractic is an effective, gentle, and drug free way to treat colic. Babies can thrive and be free of distress and discomfort while mom and dad can get some much needed sleep – and peace of mind.

How Chiropractic Benefits Senior Citizens

The aging process can usher in a variety of conditions and health issues that are confined (mostly) to the elderly. Chronic pain, arthritis, loss of mobility, and other issues can occur as a person get older, but senior citizens are finding that chiropractic provides some great benefits for the older demographic. 

Better Range of Motion

Regular chiropractic care has been shown to increase spinal range of motion as well as in the extremities. Limited range of motion can occur due to age or inactivity – sometimes a combination of the two.

Having the ability to move easier has many great benefits. It allows seniors to more actively engage with their environment. They can get on their hands and knees to work in the garden, bend down to pick up grandchildren, and improve leisure activities like golfing. Increased range of motion is one of the most common (and appreciated!) benefits of chiropractic treatment.

Decreased Degeneration of Joints

When the spine is misaligned it can lead to other parts of the body becoming misaligned as well. This can lead to unusual and unnatural wearing of the joints. Over time, the joints can become worn down, painful, and cause difficulty in mobility and flexibility.

Chiropractic care is a very effective treatment for decreasing the degeneration of the spine and even other joints. When the body is in proper alignment it no longer has to adapt through postural compensation. This reduces stress on the spine and joints while relieving pain and restoring mobility.

Pain Relief

Chiropractic has long been recognized for its effectiveness in providing drug free pain relief for everything from back pain to headaches to arthritis. While pain medication and anti-inflammatory drugs only suppress the symptoms, chiropractic addresses the root of the problem.

Spinal alignments and other chiropractic techniques help to relieve pain for a variety of issues, not just back and neck pain. What’s more, chiropractic does not have the undesirable, sometimes dangerous side effects that drugs can.

Overall Better Health and Well-Being

Proper spinal alignment can greatly benefit a person’s health, well-being, and even their mood. It allows them to become more active so they get exercise. They sleep better and have more energy.

An aligned spine also lets them more fully engage with their family, friends, and the world. They can get out and do things they were once unable to do and when they are active and happier, the entire body benefits.

Improved Coordination and Balance

The aging process can have a significant impact on a person’s balance and coordination. This can have a variety of causes including degenerative changes to the spine, typically in the neck area. Injury to this area is another culprit.

There are special receptors that reside along the cervical spine in the rear of the joints. These receptors work to send vital messages to the brain regarding coordination and balance. When the spine and especially the neck are out of alignment, it can hinder how these receptors send and receive messages to the brain. The result is a condition called loss of proprioception, or sense of body awareness.

As the condition progresses, the patient relies on vision to determine the location of their feet, legs, and other limbs. The worse it gets, the less able the patient is in compensating and can become prone to falling.

Injuries from falling are one of the most common reasons elderly people visit emergency departments each year. Chiropractic can help realign the neck and spine, allowing the messages to move much easier, thus restoring balance and coordination.

Prevents Seniors from being Confined to Nursing Homes

Seniors who are regular chiropractic patients are more likely to engage in exercise that is more strenuous. They are more active, have fewer injuries, and are basically happier and more positive.

The more active and mobile seniors are, the less likely they are to be placed in a nursing home due to medical conditions or the “typical” aging issues. Simply put, chiropractic for seniors changes the way many people look at aging – and places it in a much more positive, active light.