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The Power of Posture: Understanding & Strengthening Your Body's Alignment

back painFrom gazing downward at their smartphone to sitting hunched over a laptop, many people suffer from poor posture, which can lead to back pain, headaches and other health issues. Because bad posture is a habit that should be broken, the first step in improving posture is cultivating awareness.

This realization often dawns on patients during their initial visit through a simple, yet revealing exercise known as the postural tension test. In this test, patients stand against a wall with their shoulders, head, buttocks, and heels making contact. Areas of tension are then identified, frequently in the shoulders, chest, lower back, and calves.

This exercise exposes a common posture flaw: the tendency to lean forward, akin to a ski jumper’s stance. The discomfort experienced when trying to maintain an upright position underscores the importance of chiropractic care in making good posture more attainable and comfortable.

It Takes Time

Improving posture is not an overnight process. It’s a journey that requires patience, persistence, and self-compassion. Slouching is often our body’s default position, especially when we’re sick, aging, tired, or stressed. This flexor-dominant position, characterized by a forward-leaning stance, is a natural response to these conditions.

It’s important to remember that while gravity is a consistent force pulling us forward, our body can also counteract this pull. And this is where extensor muscles come into play.

Strengthening Extensor Muscles

Extensor muscles are the ones you feel contracting when you stand tall and draw your shoulder blades together. “Strengthening these muscles is crucial for maintaining an upright posture,” said Dr. Don. As these muscles grow stronger, they signal the nervous system to relax the flexors. This interaction creates a beneficial cycle, promoting a more open and relaxed posture, signaling to our nervous system that we are safe.

The Role of Lumbar Support

If you spend a lot of time sitting at a desk, incorporating lumbar support can be a game-changer for your posture. A lumbar roll or pillow positioned about two inches above your belt line can help maintain the natural curve of your lower back. This adjustment not only promotes good posture, but also automatically pulls your head back, encouraging a more upright position.

If your posture could use some improvement, contact us today to book an appointment.

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