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  • Many people know that posture affects physiology and function, but they don’t realize just how immensely it affects overall health and wellbeing. We live in a society that promotes a sedentary lifestyle in straining positions, leading to aches and strains, but over time these minor traumas lead to much greater detriments.

    The most common postural problem is the forward head posture (FHP). You know that strain you feel in your neck when you’ve been staring down at your phone for too long, or sitting in front of a desk all day? Naturally the head sits right on the neck and shoulders, but holding your head in a forward or downward position causes your body to adapt and hold this position. That sounds like a good thing, right? Your body gets used to it! But in reality this leads to long-term muscle strain, arthritis, and pinched nerves. And that’s just the beginning…

    Your brain and spinal cord control every function of your body through the nervous system. The nerves start from the brain, go through the neck and spine, and out to every area of your body. The brain sends information through the nerves telling your body how to heal. When the nerves get choked off, the information doesn’t flow through effectively and your body begins to degenerate. Imagine what happens when you step on a running hose; the water gets choked off and you lose power.

    So how exactly does this relate back to posture? When you adapt to improper positions your spine shifts out of place, and these shifts or misalignments are called subluxations. Subluxations not only break down the spine itself, but more importantly put pressure on the nervous system. Nerves go through the spine, meaning when the spinal joints are out of alignment, the nerves get pinched off and the cord is stretched thin. Thinner cord means less information flow, AKA less healing.

    Now if all of your nerves start from the brain and go through the neck, the neck would therefore be the most important part of the spine to keep in alignment, and yet we just said that forward head posture is a massive problem! This means that any part of your body can accumulate disease and damage if your head carriage is bad. If the pinched nerves in your neck lead to your left leg, then your left leg is much more likely to have issues. Who ever thought that neck posture could lead to hip problems?

    This works the other way too, meaning you can get an unlimited amount of physio or other treatments to help with your shoulder pain, but if your neck posture is bad then the shoulder will always find its way back to misalignment. But now that you’ve been armed with this information, it’s time to take action. Trauma builds up over time, so even if you have bad posture and feel fine now, know that you greatly increase your risks of disease and organ system damage down the road.

    Checking neck posture is simple. Have the person you are checking look up at the ceiling, down at the floor, and then straight ahead. The middle of the shoulder should be directly under the middle of the ear in a straight vertical line. Forward head posture should be examined by a chiropractor, as they are the only doctors who can treat subluxations. Remember that your body is not comprised of individual parts, but of a unified whole, and a problem in one area can affect a completely different area. If you’re unsure about your symptoms, see a chiropractor, because we both know by now that they help with much more than just back and neck pain!

    Sources:
    (2001). Damaging Effects of Forward Head Posture [Pamphlet]. USA: Certainty Practice Products.

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