Posture is the Key to Spinal Success

“Sit up straight!”, “Stop slouching”, “Stand with confidence!” my parents would shout when I was young.  Like me, you probably felt all those commands were just a way for your parents to control you.  However, our parents subconsciously were on to something.  The large majority of neck and back problems are due to weak supportive (postural) muscles, and significant changes in the way spinal bones relate to each other due to poor posture.  Let me paint the picture for you.  As a child you carry a heavy backpack and sit in class for about 6 hours per day. When graduation time comes from undergraduate or graduate school you choose to be a Financial Analyst or IT Specialist and sit in front of a computer 8 hours per day.  Not only that, but in order to get to and from work you sit on a bus, train, or in a car for 2 hours per day.  At the end of an exhausting day your sectional couch begs you to sit, relax, and plop down.  You can’t resist and watch TV for a couple hours.  Before you know it you are experiencing dull pain and stiffness in your neck and back blaming it on stress and fatigue.  You figure the pain will go away because typically in the morning you wake up with little or no discomfort.  Suddenly, a day comes when you wake up and can’t move your neck because the pain is stifling, or you bend down to pick up something and you fall to your knees in pain.

Does some or all of this scenario sound familiar?  Little by little your poor posture over the years has led you down a path of spinal destruction.  The spine is innately meant to have 4 distinct curvatures in its structure.  This keeps the body upright in its most stable and supported position.  When we slouch, the reduction of the curve in the low back weakens our core postural muscles and puts a sustained abnormal force into the discs between the spinal bones.  At the same time, the head shifts forward in relation to our shoulders compressing the vertebrae and nerves in the lower half of the neck and upper back.  Disaster is almost inevitable.

Back and neck pain is, for the most part, easily preventable.  By consciously sitting and standing straight, taking frequent breaks at work, and exercising your core muscles the chances of experiencing debilitating spine pain is minimal.  Here is a great visuals to show you good posture in both the standing and sitting position…