So, What’s posture got to do with it?

You wouldn't think that your posture could have an impact on how healthy you stay during cold and flu season, but it really does. What's the link ? That little word that packs a huge punch- STRESS!

Consider  the relationship between Forward Head Posture (FHP) and stress. Forward Head Posture is the kind of poor posture that most of us are familiar with – the slouching, rounded shoulders and neck angling that our mothers admonished us for the whole time we were growing up. Turns out, "stand up straight" was really good advice.

Several studies have recently been done that show that the slouching posture known as Forward Head Posture causes an increase in stress and tension on the spine even with mild FHP. When we engage in activities which further compromise our posture such as texting, driving or spending hours behind a computer, that effect doubles and even triples. The result- your body is left in a chronic state of high stress. This stress lowers your immune function – leaving you more susceptible to colds, flus and even infections – but why?

Stress: When we are talking about stress on the spine what we are also talking about is stress on your nervous system. Remember that the nerves run between the segments of your spine and then branch out to all of the organs, muscles & systems in the rest of your body. FHP puts strain on the spine which means that it is also putting strain on your central nervous system. This strain causes an interference with normal nerve communication and results in heightened sympathetic nerve function – this means overworked adrenal glands, over secretion of cortisol (the stress hormone) and the shutdown of the parasympathetic nervous system. The net effect? – a reduction in your immune system's overall effectiveness in fighting off the kinds of colds and flus that surround us at this time of year.

Metabolic Toxins: What's more is that FHP is sort of like a constant fight of your body against the force of gravity. Rather than bearing the bulk of your body weight evenly through your center of gravity, the head jutting forward in FHP means that your muscles are working hard all of the time just to keep you in an upright position. This sustained muscular contraction will cause build up of lactic acid, leading to a build up of metabolic toxins. 

Decreased Lymphatic Drainage: This occurs because when muscles are forced to contract continually, they eventually fatigue and use up their oxygen reserves. Because the posture is fixed in a forward position, the supporting muscles will have to keep on contracting without available oxygen, and the by product of this is lactic acid.  Furthermore, the increased gravitational effects of fhp will further decrease lymphatic drainage necessary to remove  toxins from the body. The lymphatic system is our bodies primary defense against metabolic toxins. Reversing the fhp along with bringing the shoulders back and opening up the chest cavity will assist lympatic flow necessary  to destroy infections, and foreign material




Guy Bahar is The Posture Doc., a Chiropractor with offices in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Toronto, Ontario and Oakville, Ontario.  Dr. Bhasin is a Chiropractor in the Richmond Hill, Ontario location of The Posture Clinic. The Posture Clinic specializes in the detection and correction of poor posture. The unique Posture Training Method used there corrects poor posture and improves forward head posture, improving appearance, reducing pain problems and restoring overall health. See our amazing New Patient Special and find out what your posture number is today! Feel Better. Look Better. Live Better.