Improving Posture: A Jackson, NJ Chiropractor’s Perspective
Posture is the window to the spine. If you want a good indication of what your spine looks like, take a peek at your posture.
Proper standing posture should look like this:
Chin should be parallel to the floor
Shoulders should be even and rolled back away from your ears
Head should be over the shoulders and not translated forward, so the spine is neutral and not leaning or rolled forward
Arms should be at your sides
Core, or abdominals, should be tightened
Hips should be level and knees should face straight ahead
Your weight should be distributed evenly on both feet
At Intrinsic Chiropractic, part of our examination process is a postural assessment. We also use bilateral scales to see if your body weight is distributed evenly. Drastic differences in weight distribution can be an indication that posture and spinal alignment are very off.
Poor posture can wreak havoc on your body overall. There are many benefits to having good posture. First, proper posture will reduce back and neck pain. With proper posture, there is less abnormal stress on the joints of the spine which reduces pain. Second, people who have improved posture have fewer headaches. 80% of headaches don’t come from the head, they come from the neck. If neck posture is poor, this almost always causes headaches. Improved posture lessens overall muscle tension and improves energy levels. When you are standing or sitting up with better posture you improve your lung capacity, circulation, digestion, and keep your organs healthy. Poor posture puts abnormal wear and tear on joints, which can cause injuries over time. Improved posture will improve your mood and confidence.
Poor posture is not difficult to identify. Look in the mirror. Is your head level and over your shoulders or is it tilted, or translated forward? Are shoulders even, or do you see one shoulder higher than the other? Are shoulders back and down or are they shrugged up or rounded forward? Are your hips even or do they seem off? Are your legs facing forward or do your kees roll in or out? It’s important to be able to examine your own posture so you can work to improve it.
Chiropractic is an excellent way to improve posture and optimize overall health and function. Once we identify where the postural imbalances are, we put together a plan to improve alignment, posture, and function to reduce pain and abnormal stress on your body.
How We Improve Posture In Jackson, NJ
Comprehensive Consultation and Exam
Every new patient that comes to Intrinsic Chiropractic will have a comprehensive consultation and examination. We take a detailed history and determine how past life experiences such as old accidents, injuries, working conditions, and stress may have caused postural imbalances and pain.
During our examination, we start with palpation of the spine to feel spinal and muscular issues. Then we proceed with an orthopedic, neurological, range of motion, and posture exam. These tools help us to determine what’s wrong and what areas we need to address to help improve your posture.
We say posture is the window to the spine because when someone stands in front of us and they have poor posture, we can only imagine what kind of stress is being placed on their spine. We don’t like to guess, we like to know. That is why we take X-rays of all our patients, especially patients who exhibit poor posture.
Our office is different from most in that we take a series of motion X-rays so we can see what the spine looks like in certain motion positions. Based on the results of our X-rays, we determine how long it will take to correct your posture.
Specific Chiropractic Care in Jackson, NJ
Once we determine where the problems are through the exam and X-rays, we will start the treatment process which includes adjustments. The main thing chiropractors correct in any postural imbalance are subluxations. A subluxation is when the spine shifts out of alignment or loses proper motion. We refer to a joint that is fixated, becomes locked or stuck, as subluxation and often it puts abnormal stress on the nerves and muscles.
It is very important to have your spine checked for subluxations so that we can restore any postural imbalances and get your spine, nervous system, and muscular system working better to improve your posture overall.
Massage Therapy and Soft Tissue Work
At Intrinsic Chiropractic, we have a massage therapist on staff. It is so important to support optimal spinal alignment with proper muscle function. A large part of poor posture is abnormal muscle tone and function. Years of poor posture cause a certain amount of muscle memory which makes improving posture difficult. The adjustments may not always hold if there is abnormal muscle tension or tightness, which is where massage therapy comes in. Our massage therapist will break up abnormal adhesions in the musculature and bring blood flow to the muscles to help improve motion and function.
Common Causes of Bad Posture in Jackson, NJ
When we look down at our devices all day – phones, tablets, or laptops – we set the stage for what we call Tech Neck. Over time, spending long periods looking down at our devices will lead to poor posture. Since the pandemic many people are remote, working from home at a workstation that is not ideal. Persistent long periods of sitting or reclining while trying to work lead to poor posture. Rounded shoulders and forward head posture cause increased stress on the neck as the weight of the head is translated forward. This can lead to loss of the curve in the cervical spine. If this is not corrected it can lead to permanent changes in the spine.
A healthy neck or cervical curve should be shaped like a backward banana and measure about 35° or 40°. The weight of the head should be on the posterior aspects of the neck bones. With tech neck, stress is placed more on the front of the cervical spine and the neck muscles have to work harder to hold the head up. This can cause neck pain, headaches, disc problems, and, eventually, arthritis. That’s why it’s so important to have your spine checked to make sure you don’t have permanent changes from tech neck.
Having a sedentary lifestyle can absolutely give rise to poor posture. Many of my patients sit 8-10 hours a day at a desk. Most people don’t have a proper ergonomic workstation and sit rounded over their computer or laptop all day. More and more people are working from home and don’t have an office set up, so they tell me they are in their recliner, sitting on the couch, or on a counter stool in their kitchen. This will definitely work negatively on your posture.
It’s not only work. If you are retired or don’t work and are sedentary, you also risk having poor posture. Any prolonged periods of sitting or other neutral positions will decrease normal posture. If you are prone to a sedentary lifestyle, it’s important to stand, stretch, walk, and do light exercise to work on improving your posture.
The main muscle groups that comprise your postural muscles are the muscles of the core (front and back of your middle to lower spine), the paraspinal muscles of the upper back and neck, and the pectoralis muscles (chest muscles). If one muscle group is weaker than another it will cause postural imbalances.
Previous injuries can often cause muscle spasms in these areas. If you did not properly rehabilitate and strengthen the muscles, it can cause weakness in the long run. Muscle tension from being in one position for too long, repetitive motion, or repetitive exercise can cause muscles to be used unevenly. This will also cause postural imbalances.
Many people develop scoliosis in their spines. Looking at an image of the spine from head-on, the shoulders should be straight and the spine should have no curves. Scoliosis is a lateral curvature of the spine when looking at the spine from the front. Scoliosis can start in the early teenage years, it can also develop in older patients with degeneration or arthritis. Whatever the case, if the curve is big enough, it will cause postural distortions. Abnormal curves place stress on joints, nerves, and muscles causing pain and dysfunction.
The most common age for the onset of scoliosis is 10-15. This is why spinal checkups are very important to ensure the proper musculoskeletal and neurological development of kids.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a chiropractor in Jackson, NJ help with posture?
After a thorough exam and X-rays, we can determine where the postural imbalances are and put together a plan to address spinal misalignments, and add stretching and strengthening to improve your posture.
How long does it take a chiropractor to fix bad posture?
It depends on how bad your posture is, but often several months of care will be necessary to improve a lifetime of poor posture.
Can chiropractors improve my neck hump?
Yes. Chiropractic adjustments, combined with neck curve corrective exercises, can improve or flatten your neck hump.
Can you realign your own spine?
No. Only chiropractic professionals can realign your spine.
What causes poor posture?
Poor posture is caused by looking down at your phone, tablet, or laptop for long periods of time. Stress can cause poor posture as well as sitting long or living a sedentary lifestyle.