Posture In Kirkland WA
From the time we were children, we were often taught to have good posture – “Don’t slouch, sit up straight, with your shoulders back”. Today, we know that having poor posture can have adverse effects on our nervous system which ultimately can lead to a multitude of chronic problems like carpal tunnel syndrome, recurrent headaches, neck and shoulder pain as well as mid and low back problems. Contributing to this problem is the often overlooked importance of how we organize our workspace and materials around us, encapsulated in the term “ergonomics”, which can adversely affect the stress and strain on our bodies.
Special Note to Businesses: Dr. Bourree teaches ergonomics professionally in the work space for many large corporations and can come to your small business too!
No matter where we are and what we’re doing and in what position we are in, there is an optimal position our body can and should be in to decrease stress on both the muscles, spine as well as the joints of the body. If we are looking at posture in a purely natural state, that is without any external forces like chairs, etc., our posture is essentially determined by the boney structures of the spine and extremities as well as the muscles surrounding the joints and spine and their ability to counteract the force of gravity.
“Proper posture” is somewhat of a subjective term, due to the fact that proper posture for one person may not be proper for another person, based on their body type, structural make up and other issues like prior muscle or bone surgery and other previous injuries. However, a person’s optimal posture is that which causes the least amount of strain and/or stress on their spine, ligaments, muscles and other joints of their body. This means having one’s body in a position where all joint surfaces whether they may be in the spine or in the knee in a neutral position.
Some of the distinctive features of neutral posture are:
- Head is balanced over the spine (ears over shoulders)
- Shoulders are straight (shoulders over hips)
- Thumbs point forward
- Pelvis is tucked in (hips over knees)
- Knees stay over the feet (when bending)
- Heels are perpendicular to the ground
In a perfect world, everyone would be in a neutral posture everyday, all the time. But, in reality, the position our body’s are in varies depending on what line of work we’re in and what time of day it is. It’ll also vary quite a bit if in fact you’ve injured your back or neck.
In a recent survey by GRD BioTech, Inc., poor posture was most frequently blamed on:
- Lack of exercise
- Weak muscles
- Lack of body awareness
- Excessive pronation (or rolling in) of the feet
If you find that any of these issues are of a concern to you, there may be undue stress and wear and tear on your body that you don’t need to endure.
So….What’s The Solution?
If like many people, you work in an office……, take a look on our section on ergonomics. If you’re a student or you’re a seasoned hiker/backpacker and carry a full load of books or gear everyday check our backpack safety section.
How Does My Posture Change When I Sleep?
While sleeping, you can put undue stress on your spine. As a rule of thumb you should always sleep on your back or side. If you have a back or neck injury, it’s important that you have a good ergonomically designed pillow and you should be sleeping with a pillow either underneath your knees if you’re a back sleeper and between your knees if you’re on your side.
What Can I Do Proactively?
Most importantly, you should be evaluated so that your current posture can be established and risk factors or weak points can be identified. Consult with Dr. Sue on specific strengthening exercises you can do to strengthen your postural muscles and improve your overall balance. Or, if you’re suffering from sleepless nights or have trouble with your sitting during the day, consult our office to get helpful tips.
Are You A Student or Do You Do A Lot of Desk Work?
What pains me more than anything is seeing a student studying while lying on their stomach or with their neck cranked by having their notes on their desk. A simple solution would be to pick up a note or book prop/document holder at your local office supply store and place your work on it to relieve the stress on your neck and spine. And above all, work and study while sitting in a proper chair and absolutely not while lying down.
How Does The Way I Walk Affect My Posture? – Orthotics?
Postural stability is extremely important to spinal health and chiropractic care. Chiropractors have traditionally taken a holistic approach to your health where not just the symptomatic complaint is addressed but, the entire body.
As part of this approach, we’ve come to an understanding that your feet and your gait (the way you walk) and particularly over pronation has a large affect on your posture as well as your ankle, knee, hip and low back pain. Hence, we’ve also looked at the benefits of orthotics. Rather then take a complex approach on orthotics, we’ve teamed up with Postural Dynamics, Inc., a company founded by renowned podiatrist and researcher Dr. Brian Rothbart, DPM, PhD, to simplify this issue with the use of specific insoles.
For more information on Posture Control Insoles consult our office and/or check out www.posturedyn.com.
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