Dr. Roger Sperry, the Nobel Peace Prize award winner in Medicine from 1981, states that, ““Ninety percent of the stimulation and nutrition to the brain is generated by the movement of the spine.” This means that the brain uses most of it’s energy to keep the body balanced within gravity. When our posture becomes poor, the more energy the brain has to use on posture. This means there is less energy available for things like thinking, metabolizing food, or our immune system, to name a few.
As a chiropractor, one of the most common things I see clinically is poor posture. Poor posture is more than just a less desired appearance. Poor posture is a window into spinal health which has a profound effect on our overall health. The spine houses the brain and spinal cord which control everything in our body. A healthy spine typically translates to things like better range of motion, very little to no physical pain, and optimal body function. On the other hand, if someone has poor spinal health, it typically comes with symptoms such as pain, tight muscles, headaches, shoulder tightness, and even arthritis. With the use of more technology, including phones and computers, we are seeing an epidemic in posture related musculoskeletal disorders, including “tech neck.”
Technology and lack of movement are among the top things that are killing our posture, and as we know, killing our health. The problem for most of us is that our jobs depend on the use of technology or sitting at a desk for 8 hours per day. Without quitting our jobs, there are a few simple steps we can do to improve our posture.
The first thing I always recommend is to get moving! Sitting for most of the day is hurting our spines and a major cause of poor posture. Ever heard the phrase, sitting is the new smoking? This has become a popular phrase I the health industry since sitting is causing more and more health problems, low back pain being one of the most common. We are meant to be moving through the day. If confined to a desk and leaving is not possible, simply walking in place for 3 minutes next to your desk will suffice. If able to leave the work station, a 3-5 minute walk every hour is ideal!
Another thing to avoid is looking at a downward angle to view our computer screen or phone! Our screens are meant to be at eye level! When we look down and our heads come forward away from our body, it essentially increases our head weight up to 4x (or more)! This is probably the number one cause of why so many people “carry their stress along their shoulders.” It’s not the stress we are carrying, its just a head that weighs four times more than it should! No wonder we are all walking around with knots in our shoulders! This is common but not normal!
Another way to improve posture is to get your work station evaluated by a professional! There are so many fancy chairs, desks, keyboards, etc. available, but none of them matter if we don’t know how to use them! This is something I see often. Many times companies will spend thousands of dollars on fancy ergonomic equipment, but never have them tailored to the individual. This is like having the most expensive golf clubs, but never taking a golf lesson and learning how to use the clubs! To see optimal results we should get help from the professionals.
These tips are a great place to start to improve posture. If these aren’t enough, seeing a chiropractor is another great way to help with posture and improve spinal health. I know, this tip is coming from a chiropractor, but hear me out. Many chiropractors utilize techniques that are focused on correcting posture. Chiropractors focus on restoring health through a properly functioning spine. When the spine is healthy, our posture improves, but more importantly, our bodies do not need to pull resources from things like our digestive health, immune system, or elimination system. This is why many people who start seeing a chiropractor notice things like improved sleep, immune system, and energy!