Poor Posture-What Does It Say About You?

Poor posture not only affects your image, appearance and how people perceive you, it also has a significant impact onyour health.

THE IMPORTANCE OF POSTURE

POSTURE AFFECTS YOUR OVERALL HEALTH

Your posture is like a window into your health. Poor posture indicates that the spine is not aligned as it should be. When the spine is misaligned, the nerves that run along each of your spinal segments can’t function at their best. Since the nerves control all of your body’s basic functions, any interference has significant impact on your overall health.

The most common postural problem is called Forward Head Posture (FHP). FHP is characterized by the forward displacement of the head, causing the shoulders to found forward, the chest to cave, and the upper back to hunch. Over time this leads to a swaying forward of the hips and hollowing of the lower back.

THE EFFECTS OF POOR POSTURE

LACK OF ENERGY

The human head weighs between 8 and 10 pounds, and represents 8% of total body mass. In a neutral posture, the head feels weightless, because the body is perfectly balanced. But for every inch the head moves forward, it feels as if its weight has doubled. This is due to the effects of gravity. The tiny muscles of the neck, shoulders and upper back are forced to contract to support the head in this position. The resulting strain on your muscles is exhausting.
Think about holding a bag of groceries close to your body versus with your arm extended. The bag weighs the same, but see how much more effort, strain and pain are created when the arm is stretched forward.

PAIN AND TENSION

When muscles are worked beyond their oxygen capacity, lactic acid is formed. You experience this as burning, cramping, pain or spasms across the shoulders, in the neck and even in the form of headaches. People with FHP tend to suffer from headaches, neck pain, tension across the shoulders, pain between the shoulder blades, upper back pain and even jaw pain. Almost 95% of neck pain and headache sufferers have FHP.

REDUCED BREATHING CAPACITY

Studies have shown a 30% reduction in oxygen intake in people with FHP. There are two reasons. First, when the head comes forward at a sharp angle, you use the scalene muscles in the neck exclusively to draw in air. This shallow type of breathing doesn’t make use of the diaphragm, and results in a lower volume of oxygen in the body.
You can try it for yourself. Push your head out as far forward as you can, then try to draw in a deep breath. You’ll notice how little air you’re capable of inhaling.

The second reason is the collapsing of the chest wall. When the head comes forward and shoulders round, the chest cavity hollows and compresses. When the ribcage presses down on lungs, the diaphragm can’t work optimally, and air capacity is significantly reduced.

OLDER APPEARANCE

Stooping posture is associated with old age. FHP creates an image of frailty, illness, lack of energy and vitality. Poor posture makes people appear less confident, and even makes them shorter than they really are.

LOWERED IMMUNITY

FHP causes a loss of the normal curve of the cervical (neck) spine. This creates tension in the spinal cord, which interferes with the messages sent from the spinal cord through the sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system controls autonomic functions such as heart rate, breathing and digestion. It also influences the release of hormones, neurotransmitters and defence cells that are responsible for your body’s immune response. When posture comprises your nervous system, it also compromises your body’s ability to fight off colds, ‘flu, and even infection.

CAUSES OF FORWARD HEAD POSTURE

Poor posture is caused by many different things. The three main categories are:

LIFESTYLE – LONG TERM USE OF TECHNOLOGICAL DEVICES

Lifestyle factors are the largest contributor to FHP. New technologies and modern society have evolved our lifestyles, but not our bodies. Extended computer use has emerged as a major cause, and is likely responsible for the rapid growth of FHP over the past 10 years.

Laptops are almost 10 times more commonly used today than desktop computers. While desktop workstations traditionally have ergonomically-sound set-ups, laptops tend to be used in positions that aggravate FHP, accelerating its progression.

Add to this the excessive use of BlackBerries, handheld gaming devices and cellular phones, not to mention heavy backpacks, and it’s no wonder young people are the fastest-growing group of neck pain sufferers. Extended periods of driving or experiencing stress while driving are also major causes of FHP.

INJURY – SPORTS, CAR ACCIDENTS, FALLS

Sports-related injuries, motor vehicle accident injuries such as whiplash, and injuries caused by slips and falls can all lead to FHP. FHP can be an adaptive posture assumed during the acute pain period following injury, that remains even after the problem has healed.

HEREDITY – SCOLIOSIS, OSTEOPEROSIS, DOWAGER`S HUMP

Certain conditions such as scoliosis, osteoporosis, dowager’s hump, and hyperkyphosis are all postural problems that tend to be inherited. Depending on age and stage of degeneration, many of these conditions still respond to treatment and can be completely corrected.

ITS NOT A NECESSARY PART OF AGING

Forward Head Posture, like tooth decay, is a factor of neglect and lifestyle rather than aging. While it’s true that the older you are, the longer your body has been subjected to the types of repetitive strains that cause and exacerbate FHP, the truth is the largest growing segment of sufferers is 18-25-year-olds.

The impact of technological devices is much more pronounced in individuals of more advanced age who also use BlackBerries, laptops, and who drive for extended periods of time. As with all health issues, early detection and intervention is key to reduce the risk of serious complications. The longer the problem goes untreated, the worse it will become.

CONCENTRATING ON STANDING STRAIGHT ISN`T THE ANSWER

You can’t just concentrate on standing straight. It’s not that simple.

Poor posture is caused by physical changes in your spine, making it virtually impossible to get in a proper postural position, let alone hold it for more than a few moments. It’s like solving the problem of being overweight by deciding to hold in your stomach. You may be able to do it for a few minutes, but soon you’ll focus on other things, and you won’t solve the root of the problem.

SO WHAT IS THE ANSWER?

The Bahar Posture Training Method – You don’t have to live with poor posture, or the health problems and pain that go with it. Poor posture doesn’t have to be a life sentence. When you correct and improve your posture, you literally turn back the hands of time on your health. You’ll feel younger, look younger, and enjoy the life you deserve.