Posture is the positioning of the body. There are two types of posture. Dynamic posture is how individuals position themselves when moving, like walking, running, or bending to lift an object. And static posture is how individuals position themselves when not in motion, like standing, sitting, or sleeping. Minimal stress is applied to the muscles and joints when practicing healthy posture. High-stress work and school combined with unhealthy body positions can cause health consequences to the spine, extremities, and musculoskeletal imbalances.
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Poor postures do not always present with spine or extremity pain right away. This is because individuals will feel discomfort and have the strength and mobility to correct unhealthy/awkward positions and minimize stress. However, eventually, the pain will begin to present as the muscles and joints can only take so much that the ability to correct poor positioning does not matter as there is a developing injury taking place, causing inflammation, letting the body know there is something not right. This often leads to chronic stress and the unnecessary wearing down of the joints to compensate for the unhealthy positions.
Early signs of postural problems can include:
- Inability to sit or stand for a long time.
- Stiffness when rising from a chair.
- Feeling of added physical exhaustion.
Leaving the condition untreated often leads to:
- Muscle imbalances.
- Loss of normal flexibility.
- Discomfort and pain present for no apparent reason.
Unhealthy Posture Symptoms
Symptoms can include:
- Rounded shoulders.
- Bent knees when standing or walking.
- Muscle fatigue.
- Aches and pains.
- Back pain.
Poor posture interferes and disrupts several of the body’s posture structures. These include:
- Nervous system feedback.
- Muscle strength and length.
- The static slow-twitch muscle fibers help maintain posture without exerting too much energy and contribute to balance by sensing the body’s position.
- Static muscle fibers burn energy slowly and can work for a long time without tiring.
- The fast-twitch or phasic muscle fibers are used for movement and activity. These fibers quickly use up their energy.
Because the phasic fibers have to work overtime instead of the static fibers to maintain the body’s position, muscle fatigue, weakness, and pain begin to set in.
Health consequences can include:
- Misaligned musculoskeletal system.
- The advanced wearing of the spine making it fragile and prone to injury.
- Chronic pain.
- Decreased flexibility.
- Joint mobility is affected.
- Balance issues.
- Increased risk of falling.
- Difficulty digesting food.
- Difficulty breathing.
Chiropractic and Physical Therapy
Chiropractors and physical therapists specialize in evaluating and treating musculoskeletal dysfunctions and disorders, identifying and screening for postural dysfunction. Chiropractic adjustments can be highly effective combined with other treatment modalities like massaging the soft tissues to improve circulation, reduce swelling inflammation, and promote healing. Spinal decompression therapy can help stretch and realign the spine to relieve back and/or leg pain. A customized exercise program will stretch and strengthen the body to maintain a healthy posture. Health coaching combined with dietary management can help with pain and inflammation and strengthen muscles and bones.
DRX9000 Spinal Decompression
American Chiropractic Association. Maintaining good posture. acatoday.org/content/posture-power-how-to-correct-your-body-alignment. Accessed Jan. 28, 2019.
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Spine basics. orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/spine-basics/. Accessed Jan. 30, 2019.
Bauer BA. Chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation. In: Mayo Clinic Guide to Integrative Medicine. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2017.
Muscolino JE. Posture and the gait cycle. In: Kinesiology: The Skeletal System and Muscle Function. 3rd ed. Elsevier; 2017.
Wang G. Powered traction devices for intervertebral decompression: Health technology assessment update. Washington Department of Labor and Industries, June 14, 2004.
Waters, Thomas R, and Robert B Dick. “Evidence of health risks associated with prolonged standing at work and intervention effectiveness.” Rehabilitation nursing: the official journal of the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses vol. 40,3 (2015): 148-65. doi:10.1002/rnj.166
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