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Why "Standing Up Straight" Doesn't Work

Poor Posture, Poor Health

As a kid, we all heard it before – don’t slouch. Keep your shoulders back. Hold good posture. Yes, we all know that posture is important; this is for a couple of reasons. First, posture is a window to the spine, so any shifts or asymmetries are early signs that there is damage to the spine (and damage to the nerves in that area).

Another vital reason to look at posture is because of the most common posture shift, Anterior Head Carriage. In this posture, the head goes in front of the shoulders, causing the neck to strain for stabilization. Anterior Head Carriage also causes the shoulders to roll forward and people may notice a “hump” in their upper back. As this continues to progress, the shoulders and chest begin to collapse in on the lungs and heart, literally taking years off our lives!1

How Do We Fix Posture?

Every inch of Anterior Head Carriage adds 10+ pounds of stress onto the neck.

Every inch of Anterior Head Carriage adds 10+ pounds of stress onto the neck.

Consciously thinking about posture does help. If we take efforts toward standing and sitting straighter, that will usually reduce stress from poor posture. The problem, however, is that if there is a long-term issue in the spine, then conscious efforts for proper posture will be uncomfortable. Additionally, our muscles hold something called “muscle memory” – that is, our muscles will tend to stick to their old ways.

A couple of services in my office are designed to fix spine-related posture issues. First, the chiropractic adjustment. Each adjustment brings the spine closer and closer to alignment, and in doing so people are more upright. In addition, a platform that performs full-body vibration may be used in your care to stimulate a phenomenon called Neuromuscular Reprogramming. This uses vibrational frequencies to break up the muscle memory patterns, allowing you to leave the office with a stronger posture than when you first arrive. Specific home exercises may also be recommended to help you accomplish better posture and your health goals.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with poor posture, it is likely not going to get better with time. Every day gravity uses a compressive effect, the problem becomes tougher and tougher to fix. Call today to schedule your first visit and begin enjoying greater health!


Hyperkyphotic Posture Predicts Mortality in Older Community-Dwelling Men and Women: A Prospective Study
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
From: Volume 52 Issue 10, October 2004, Page 1662
Deborah M. Kado, MD; Ms. Mei-Hua Huang; DrPH; Arun S. Karlamangla, MD, PhD; Elizabeth Barrett-Connor, MD and Gail A. Greendale, MD.

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