It is important to maintain proper posture throughout the day including while exercising. Poor posture puts too much stress on the body and causes many aches and pains. Chiropractors can help adjust the spine and recommend specific exercises to improve posture.
Can poor posture lead to health problems and musculoskeletal problems?
Dr. Luke Stringer: Absolutely, Liz. Poor posture is typically the root cause of many health issues. The classic symptoms we see in our office from people that have poor posture usually include headache, neck pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, low back pain and sciatica. That’s due to poor posture and misalignment in the spine. When we misalign, it puts stress and tension onto the nerves and the soft tissue, and we obviously start to break down.
However, we also treat many of the symptoms related to poor posture, and we like to call them, what we call lifestyle diseases, those corporate lifestyle diseases. Classic symptoms we see are fatigue, poor sleep, low energy levels, anxiety. Essentially poor posture is a repetitive stress and it puts the body in a state of stress. So as we all know, when we’re under stress or in a stressful situation, it affects how our bodies function, both on a physical and physiological level.
How important is it to maintain proper posture while exercising, including walking and lifting weights?
Dr. Luke Stringer: Extremely important Liz. When we have poor posture, it’s synonymous with joints within the spine, and the rest of our body, essentially being out of alignment. When a joint is out of alignment, it tends to limit our range of motion and our flexibility within a joint. That essentially creates a cascade of problems, because when we have poor range of motion within a joint, it creates excessive load, such as the knee, when walking or low back when lifting. If it’s out of alignment then we’re not doing those movements correctly, and this creates a massive amount of compensation.
When you combine poor range of motion, excessive load, and compensation, it damages both the joint and the soft tissue, which over time, essentially leads to pain and problems. Having good posture and certainly good form in any type of movement, specifically exercise, is critically important.
What are some tips for maintaining the best posture while sitting in a desk chair all day?
Dr. Luke Stringer: Yes, extended periods of sitting has been shown to be as damaging to the body as smoking. Literally, sitting is the new smoking. Research is really prominent on that. So, if you are sitting for a living, you simply just have to get up and move. It’s essential to maintaining health essentially.
The first thing I would do, or I recommend to all of our patients, is to speak to HR, and invest in a standing desk, and spend the last 20 minutes of every hour you work standing instead of sitting.
Can you recommend specific exercises that will help improve posture?
Dr. Luke Stringer: Certainly, when we have poor posture, it can essentially affect many areas of the body, but classically what we tend to see in the office, is two main areas. When we have poor posture in the neck and shoulders, it obviously creates pain and symptoms within neck and shoulders, or when we have poor posture in our lower back and hips, it obviously creates pain and problems in our low back and hips.
Exercises should obviously be prescribed based on the affected area. There should be a combination of two things essentially. You should be trying to improve the range of motion or the flexibility within the joints. That’s commonly done through stretching, and that’s obviously going to be working on achieving optimal range of motion. Also, you should combine it with some activation, some stability work of the postural muscles within the affected area.
Our bodies are all real economical, right, so essentially when we don’t use something, the body essentially says, “Okay, I don’t need it,” so it doesn’t use it, and that’s how we create weakness and imbalances. So, if you’re listening to the podcast, and you’re struggling with headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain, jump on YouTube and essentially YouTube “how to do a wall angel,” and start doing those every day at work, at least twice a day. If you’re suffering with low back pain or pain in your pelvis, YouTube “how to do a hollow hop.” Both are designed to activate, and essentially activate those postural support muscles that are going to support those shoulders and the neck, or the low back and the hips. That’s critical for essentially maintaining good posture and getting out of pain.
For those that think they have great posture, why is it still important to visit a chiropractor to get it checked?
Dr. Luke Stringer: Yeah, great question Liz, and I assume everyone listening essentially gets their car oil changed every 5,000 miles, right? Or they go to the dentist at least once a year to get their teeth checked, right? We do this, we use the car analogy to make sure the car’s running well, and to avoid any future problems down the road. It’s a proactive way to look after the vehicle, right? So, my question is why should the spine, which houses the most important and vital system in our body, the nervous system, be any different? By simply getting your spine checked for misalignment by a chiropractor regularly, it will essentially help prevent any health issues down the road, and it’s just going to allow you to function at an optimal level, which everyone deserves to do.
If you are interested in speaking with Dr. Luke Stringer visit www.southloopchiropractor.com or call (312) 987-4878 to schedule an appointment.