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Posture and the Health of your Spine

We all know that good posture is important, but do you actually know why it is so important? Good posture not only looks a lot better, but it plays a very important role in the health of your spine. Poor posture places a lot of excess stress on the joints of the spine, and can actually lead to an earlier onset of osteoarthritis in the spine. This means that the opposite is also true, that if you have good posture you can reduce the likelihood of developing osteoarthritis in your spine.

How can poor posture lead to osteoarthritis in the spine?

Good posture ensures that the spine is nicely stacked so that force is evenly distributed throughout it as you go about your day. If your posture starts to change it also changes the way that force is distributed throughout the spine, and causes excess stress to be placed on certain areas. This also increases how hard the surrounding muscles are having to work. For example, your head should sit in line with your shoulders.

Heads are very heavy so having them sitting over your shoulders means that the force can go through the spine evenly and isn’t placing extra stress on any of the joints or muscles. However it is very common these days for people’s heads to move forward and sit in front of the shoulders. When the head comes forward the weight is no longer going directly through the spine. The head is now hanging forward, and the muscles down the back of the neck are having to work extra hard to hold up the weight of the head. Over time, these muscles can start to become fatigued and struggle to hold up the weight of your head. When these muscles start to fatigue the weight of the head has to go somewhere. The weight then starts to go through the joints of the spine, but in a way that is uneven and causes a lot of stress on the joints. This excess stress leads to wear and tear of the joints, and can eventually lead to osteoarthritis of the spine.

You may associate osteoarthritis with older people, but due to prolonged poor posture it is starting to become common in younger people, even as early as people in their 20’s. And this doesn’t just happen in the neck, any changes to the posture of your spine increases the load on the surrounding muscles, and places excess stress on the spine. This can cause osteoarthritis anywhere in the spine. If you already have osteoarthritis, poor posture is just going to aggravate this, and worsen any symptoms you may be having, such as pain or stiffness.

How does good posture help with spinal health?

As discussed above, poor posture can have a negative effect on your spinal health, but the opposite is also true, maintaining good posture can help to protect the health and longevity of your spine. Good posture ensures that your spine is nicely stacked, and reduces the amount of stress going through the individual joints of your spine. It also ensures that muscles are only having to work as hard as they need to, making sure they are not overworked and eventually becoming fatigued. This means that the muscles can effectively support the joints of the spine, and help to further minimise the stress being placed on those joints. This stops wear and tear happening to the joints, greatly reducing the chances of osteoarthritis developing. If you already have osteoarthritis, unfortunately good back posture cant reverse it, but what it can do is greatly slow down the progression of it, and can reduce the amount and the severity of the symptoms you may be experiencing.

How can chiropractic help with good posture?

Poor posture often comes from weakness of the stabilising muscles of the spine. Weakness of these muscles allows your body to shift into a position that is not healthy for the spine. These muscles usually become weak due to lack of movement of the spinal joints. Over time spinal joints can become locked up and misaligned, causing them to stop moving properly. This lack of motion in the joint means that the attached stabilising muscles are not being moved or used. Muscles need motion to stay strong.

If you put your arm in a cast for a couple of months, all the muscles in your arm will become weak and lazy, well the same thing happens in your spine when the spinal joints stop moving, the muscles become weak and lazy. When they are weak they are not able to hold your spine in a good upright posture. In order for the muscles to get strong again you need to get movement into your spinal joints. This is where a chiropractor can help. Chiropractors are specifically trained to locate these areas of misalignments within the spine and back, and are able to correct them using chiropractic adjustments. The adjustment helps to restore the natural movement of the spinal joints, which then activates the spinal muscles. Book an appointment with us today!

If your spinal muscles have been weak for a long time it may take a while to rebuild the strength of the spinal muscles, and this is done through regular chiropractic appointments. After going through a care plan your spinal muscles will be a lot stronger, and therefore better able to support your spine and hold it in a good posture. Chiropractors can also help by prescribing you with stretches and exercises to help with the strength of your larger muscle groups, that also help you to maintain a good posture.

So overall good posture is essential in maintaining good spinal health, and poor posture can lead to the early onset of osteoarthritis in the spine. Chiropractic is a great way to naturally and effectively improve your posture, in order to keep your spine at its best possible health!