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Posture Matters, and not just 'cause mom says so | Springfield, IL

For anyone that went to Catholic school, or had a mother that had her child’s long-term health in mind, this post may bring back some memories. “Sit up straight!” was a common phrase around my house growing up; luckily, it wasn’t accompanied by the swift strike of a ruler. Just the loving yet stern enforcement of our wise matriarch.

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As a chiropractor in Springfield, IL, I know now how vital posture is to our overall health, but back then I was not a fan of the constant reminders. I wanted to be as supine as possible, mimicking what my posture would be on the couch in front of the TV after school. I just thought my mom was trying to exert some form of control or influence over my life, I didn’t realize the profound effects my posture would take with me through adolescence and into adulthood.

As kids we use both sides of our bodies easily – we’re trying the thing out, taking it for as many joy rides as possible, and learning our limits along the way. By the time we’re adults, we’ve gradually started to favor one side of our body, forming muscular patterns of imbalance. These imbalances solidify themselves in our posture and affect how our body functions, most importantly how we move and breathe.

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Yes, breathe. Someone needs to check #407’s posture. Posture affects our ability to breathe. Mom really buried the lead on that one.

In fact, our posture has an effect on more than just respiration. Proper posture ensures our body moves at its best. Athletes and weight lifters are super keyed into posture because it will ultimately dictate their success. With proper posture, a bodybuilder can lift more weight and do so without fear of injury, and an athlete can stay out on the field for the whole game without running into any aches or strains.

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The most common issues that result from bad posture:

  • Tension in the neck and head
  • Shoulder, knee, hip, and back pain
  • Migraines or headaches
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Trouble breathing
  • Neurological symptoms including brain fog, confusion, and lightheadedness
  • Scoliosis
  • Poor athletic performance
  • TMJ

The most common causes of poor posture are:

  • Too much sitting
  • Inactivity or a sedentary lifestyle
  • Exercising in one direction only
  • Repetitive movements
  • Too much hyperextending when exercising, especially in the back
  • Having an anterior pelvic tilt
  • Forward head posture

Poor posture forces the body to compensate, affecting how we use our joints and muscles. Its ramifications stretch even beyond our physical being and can alter how our minds work.

5 Benefits of Good Posture

1. Relieves Joint Pain

Our bodies are not symmetrical. Well, there are some instances of symmetry in the human race, but they stick out like a sore thumb.

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There are many actions we take that dominate one side over the other. Writing, throwing, kicking, sitting, dancing, not all dances are as symmetrical as the macarena. This asymmetry causes our joints to wear down faster than others, resulting in dysfunction throughout the body.

At the Springfield Wellness Center, we deal with upper crossed and lower crossed syndrome all the time, a combination of weak and inflexible muscles. We provide patients with a custom exercise plan that will strengthen the neglected muscles to decrease the stress placed on certain joints.

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2. Improved Breathing, Athletic Performance, and Endurance

The ability to breathe is pretty important, I don’t think I have to push too hard to convince a reader about this one. When our posture is altered, it leaves less room in the rib cage for our lungs to work their magic.

Believe it or not, our body prefers to get as much oxygen as it can to carry out its daily functions. When our breathing is compromised, we can’t as effectively deal with stress. Our endurance and physical performance suffer and we can have trouble sleeping and managing our anxiety.

3. Low Back Pain Relief

Low back pain is rampant in the U.S. 80% of people will experience low back pain at some point in their lives and it is the #1 cause of lost productivity worldwide. Think about how much more productive we’d be as a society if every mother was as strict about posture as mine.

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Poor posture that causes pain starts from the ground up. An imbalance in the feet can have effects all the way up the body as it is forced to compensate. Muscles learn new patterns and are worked in ways they weren’t designed for, creating unholy patterns of tension and weakness. Strengthening under-used core muscles, including the hamstrings and glutes, helps to stabilize the spine in a healthy position.

4. Neck Pain and Headache Relief

Forward head posture and tech neck are two of the biggest culprits when it comes to cervical posture abnormalities. The strain that these positions place on our neck travels down our spine and can have repercussions throughout our upper torso.

Staring down at our phones, scrolling and swiping through that day’s offerings, is not what our neck was designed for. Muscle tension from this posture can lead to neck pain and tension headaches. The extra stress it places on our cervical joints can lead to joint pain and cervical disc injuries.

5. Manages Scoliosis Symptoms and Progression

Better posture can’t cure scoliosis, but it can help it from taking more ground. The structural abnormalities of scoliosis inherently affect posture. Our ability to identify scoliosis and implement exercises and chiropractic treatments to combat its progression will help adolescents and young adults live an active life free from the restrictions of a brace or spinal fusion surgery.

Posture is the “window to the spine”. You can look at someone’s posture and tell, not only how healthy their spine is but, how healthy they are. It’s a tell-tale sign. A dead giveaway. Good posture ensures the spinal cord and nerves are relaxed and have a clear line of communication with the brain and the rest of the body.

Without this clear communication our body looks something like this:

Chiropractic care focuses on spinal health to improve posture, restore proper alignment, and correct the structure of the spine. At the Springfield Wellness Center, we want that “window” to be crystal clear and easy to peek through. We don’t want any doubts about how healthy our patients are.

Removing subluxations through chiropractic adjustments to the spine and creating balance in the musculoskeletal systems, allows the nervous system to function at its optimal levels so the body can perform at its very best, no matter what that performance entails. If only my mom had led with that I might have not scoffed at her so openly. Call us or schedule a time to meet with one of our amazing doctors and let’s stand up to bad posture. We’ll feel and look like royalty.

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