Posture is one of the most common things that I discuss with my chiropractic patients. As our world has become further immersed in technology many people spend hours of their day using a computer, phone, or other electronic device. In fact, many of my patients average over 6 hours per day of screentime on either a phone or a computer! This increase in use had led to conditions such as “text neck” which is caused primarily by poor posture when using electronics. Poor posture can manifest as tension headaches, neck pain, tingling or numbness in the hands or arms, shoulder pain, upper back pain or lower back pain. In my opinion, posture plays a role in the symptoms of many patients in my Sioux Falls chiropractic office.
What is Good Posture?
What is good spinal posture? Good posture means keeping your head, shoulders and lower back aligned with each other in a neutral position. An example of this is to keep the head over the shoulders and not leaning forward in front of the body. This also means trying to sit equally on both sit bones and to not to lean to the side or keep your neck turned or bent to one side for an extended period of time. When using computers or other devices it is also important to keep your hands/wrists in a neutral position to try to prevent excess stress on the joints and muscles of your arms and forearms.
Why is Posture Important?
So why is posture important? Our body is designed with a complicated system of bones, muscles, ligaments and other structures to try to protect the joints and function of the body. When we have poor posture, this increases the stress on the body and lead to possible discomfort or wear and tear on the joints. An example of this is impact of the head on the neck. The average adult head weighs 11-12 pounds. When the head is centered over the shoulders that is the weight the muscles have to hold up. However, every inch that the head gets in front of the shoulders makes it harder to hold the head up. For example, if your head is 2 inches in front of the shoulders it is the equivalent of the head weighing 32 pounds. This makes the muscles and joints to work harder and is a common cause of headaches, neck pain and shoulder pain. This also may lead to muscle imbalances in the neck and upper back regions.
Struggling with Pain or other Symptoms?
If you are struggling with persistent symptoms or would like to improve your posture, there are multiple ways to take action. If you work for a company, you could request an ergonomic consultation. This typically consists of an expert looking at your workstation and posture to try to make sure your chair, desk and computer equipment are set-up appropriately for you. You could also ask your chiropractor to check your posture and ask them for advice. When we advise patients on posture, we often discuss workplace set up as well as postural exercises to help correct muscle imbalances. The goal is to correct the posture to help reduce the risk of future injuries. If you live in the Sioux Falls area and would like an appointment, please contact our chiropractic office.