March of 2020 changed everyone’s world. As Covid-19 swept across the world, companies abruptly sent their employees home to work. Many people that had previously spent their days in a cushy ergonomic desk set up were now sitting on the couch or at the kitchen table. It didn’t take long for our office to be filled with complaints ranging from headaches to neck pain to low back pain. This was a testament to how critical good posture is to your health.
Here at Noble Choice Chiropractic, we know there is an abundant amount of research demonstrating posture is a crucial indicator of good health. When the spine is in good posture, the spinal cord and attached nerves can move properly and have clear communication between the brain and the rest of the body. This means that all systems of the body are functioning at their highest potential, leading to the healthiest version of you.
So what does good posture look like? Start by looking at the body from the side view. There should be a straight line that extends from the ear to the shoulder to the hip and down to the knee and ankle. This neutral spine is perfectly balanced with the natural curves of the spine. These curves enable your spine to absorb any compression stress that comes into your body without breaking down. You might notice that some people’s heads “poke” forward and are situated in front of the shoulders instead of directly above. This puts extra stress on the neck and supporting muscles and ligaments. When you look at posture from the front, a person’s body weight should be evenly disturbed between both feet, and their shoulders and hips should be level. Any deviation from this neutral spine causes more stress to the body and increases the likelihood of misalignments occurring.
Good posture is underrated in our society. Often, it’s not even noticed until later on in life when it is much more difficult to treat. The benefits of good posture are endless. Improvement of posture can lead to reduced back pain, fewer headaches, increased energy levels, less muscle tension, and increased lung capacity, just to name a few. Similarly, poor posture can have detrimental health effects, such as a predisposition to degeneration and poor biomechanics. Chiropractic care helps to keep the spine in its proper position and keep you independently functioning as long as possible.
How We Improve Posture in Sun Prairie, WI
Comprehensive Consultation and Exam
As a new patient, you’ll start your experience in our office with one of our chiropractors. They will sit down with you and discuss what your problems are and how they are affecting your life. They’ll also spend time finding out your goals for care. Many people, especially those that are desk workers, have a goal of improving posture. This consultation allows the doctors to really get to know you and understand where you’re coming from and where you want to go.
After the consultation, they’ll do a thorough orthopedic and functional exam to truly understand the extent of your issue. This information helps them understand how posture is affecting your body’s function, not just appearance.
When we talk about posture and X-rays, it’s all about the curves. Meaning, the lateral curves. Your spine is designed to have intentional curves in the neck, mid-back, and low back. These curves help to support the weight of the head and keep the pelvis in its place. Your X-rays will tell the doctors everything they need to know about your curves and how they are affecting your posture. Your X-rays allow us to design a specific care plan based on your body!
Specific Chiropractic Care in Sun Prairie, WI
Once we know exactly what your spine looks like, we can begin the process of better spinal alignment. When the vertebrae in the spine are misaligned, or subluxated, the nervous system isn’t functioning as well as it could be. This creates imbalance throughout the spine, muscles, and joints. It just isn’t possible to have good posture when your spine has these subluxations.
Chiropractic adjustments remove these subluxations and allow your nervous system to function how it’s supposed to. It’s important to note that complaints like poor posture didn’t just happen overnight. Often it takes many years of bad postural habits to create improper curves. While it will take time to undo some of these changes, it is possible! The body has an incredible ability to adapt and restore.
Custom Therapeutic Exercise Plan
Chiropractic is always the backbone (get it?) of what we do in our office. But when it comes to correcting poor posture, exercises are next in line. Muscle imbalances from our everyday activities such as how we sit, sleep, stand, and move create poor posture. Postural exercises will help the body relearn how to keep the progress you’ve made from chiropractic adjustments. As with any exercise routine, consistency is key. Your body needs time and repetition to adapt and these postural exercises are no different.
Common Causes of Bad Posture in Sun Prairie, WI
Unfortunately, tech neck is one of the most common conditions we see in our offices and has become increasingly more common in kids. Tech neck symptoms of neck pain, upper back pain, and headaches are caused by prolonged periods of looking down at devices. The advancement of technology in smartphones, tablets, and computers is causing most of the population to look down more than ever before. This position leads to forward head posture and increased stress on the spine, increasing the likelihood of poor posture. The earlier in life this is corrected, the less detrimental the later effects will be.
Many people are quick to acknowledge the effect that stress has on your mental state. However, stress takes a physical toll on the body too. For example, when a person is stressed, they begin to take quicker and more shallow breaths. This makes the muscles that support respiration have to work overtime and fatigue quickly. This is true for any of the muscles in the body. You may notice that when you’re feeling stressed due to work, family, finances, or any other common stressor, your neck or low back always seems to feel tight. This alters your gait or posture and then continues the cycle of poor posture and increased muscle tension. Long-term correction of posture should have some sort of stress management component.
Have you heard the phrase “sitting is the new smoking”? It sounds harsh, but it’s true. Prolonged sitting has been shown to negatively affect your health. A large percentage of the population sits at a desk for 8-10 hours a day, 5 days a week for years. When we sit, many of our muscles are turned “off” because there is no need for them to be active. The more often we sit, the weaker these muscles become over time. Weak muscles lead to imbalances which affect posture.
We are strong advocates of standing desks as this keeps the muscles actively engaged as well as allows better desk ergonomics overall.
When looking at the body from the side, the spine should have three curves: the neck, mid-back, and low back. When you look at the spine from the back, it should be straight. Scoliosis is when the spine is curved abnormally from this view. These curves place stress on the joints, as well as nerves, causing pain and dysfunction. Scoliosis also causes muscle imbalances that contribute to postural changes.
The onset of scoliosis ranges from 10-15 years old. This is why spinal checks are incredibly important in children. The earlier scoliosis is diagnosed, the greater the chance of a better outcome.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a chiropractor in Sun Prairie, WI help with posture?
At Noble Choice Chiropractic, we have great success with posture improvement. This is because we focus on chiropractic adjustments as well as correction exercises.
How long does it take a chiropractor to fix poor posture?
The truth is, there is no right answer to this. It depends on several factors such as age, degeneration, and lifestyle. In general, the more consistent and dedicated a person is to at-home care and exercise, the sooner they will adapt.
Can chiropractic help with a hunchback?
Chiropractic, along with spinal orthotics and exercises, can help reduce hunchbacks.
How do you know if your body is out of alignment?
Many people have obvious symptoms such as pain, numbness, or tingling that alert them that there is something wrong. Many of our new patients, however, come in because they feel pressure in their spine or that something feels “off”. This is an indicator that your spine is out of alignment.
Which muscles are responsible for posture?
Your back muscles are generally the weakest when it comes to posture. Conversely, the muscles in the front of your chest are typically tighter and need to be stretched.