Maintaining proper posture is critical for overall health and wellness and sports performance. Chiropractors can evaluate posture and recommend specific exercises to improve it.
Can you describe what proper posture should look like while standing, sitting, and walking?
Dr. Scott Gardner: Proper posture from the front would have the head level, shoulders level, hips level, and that should be while standing, walking, and sitting. Proper posture from the side while standing and walking would have a line that connects the center of the ear, shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle. While sitting, you want to make sure that the top of the thigh is always higher than the knee, both feet flat on the floor. And there still should be that line that connects the center of the ear, the center of the shoulder, and the center of the hip.
How would someone know if they have good posture or not? Could someone make an appointment with a chiropractor to have their posture evaluated?
Dr. Scott Gardner: Absolutely, but they can even do a simple test at home where you stand in front of the mirror, close your eyes, take a deep breath in and exhale, repeat that two times. And then without moving, open your eyes. And you want to look at the tops of the ears to see if they’re level, the tops of the shoulders to see if they’re level, and the tops of the hip. If they’re not level, then your posture is off. However, really the best bet is to have a detailed chiropractic evaluation where we use technology to really determine the health of posture by doing a computerized posture evaluation, and then digital x-rays, which are measured with technology to compare the individual’s x-rays to what normal is supposed to be.
What are some negative effects poor posture has on your health?
Dr. Scott Gardner: Poor posture can cause neck pain, shoulder pain, headaches, back pain, poor circulation, and can cause abdominal pressure from the ribs. Especially if the person is rounded and having forward head posture, that can put pressure on the bladder, and can also affect digestion. It can cause abnormal pressure on the spinal disc, which makes the individual more prone to bulging or herniated discs, definitely have a negative effect on energy, and can lead to accelerated degenerative arthritis.
Can maintaining good posture improve athletic performance and have other health benefits?
Dr. Scott Gardner: Yes. So, if you look at most athletes, they give an appearance of somebody that’s strong, and not only because of their muscular development, but also because of good posture. If you look at somebody that has poor posture versus somebody that has good posture, right out the gate, the one that has good posture really just gives that image of strength, where the other person gives that image of maybe weakness, or can maybe even make the individual look older. Some positive health benefits of good posture are reduced back pain, fewer or no headaches, increased energy, decreased tension on the shoulders or neck, decreased potential for degenerative arthritis, increased lung capacity, and increased circulation and digestion.
Are there exercises people can do to specifically improve their posture?
Dr. Scott Gardner: There are very specific posture building exercises, depending on the person’s posture pattern. The best advice that I would give somebody is really to see a chiropractor that specializes in corrective care to find out what that specific game plan would be for them versus just going on the internet and YouTube and looking up posture exercises and buying these posture devices that really are actually making the body weaker. Because when you wear those different devices to help to pull the shoulders back, well then, you’re really not using your muscles. You’re depending on that support from the brace, and it actually will weaken the body long-term.
If you are interested in speaking with Dr. Scott Gardner visit www.gardnerfamilychiro.com or call 973-614-9256 to schedule an appointment.