Does Good Posture Really Matter
By: Richard Schwartz D.C.
The body withstands thousands of irritations everyday, but we have the choice on how they interfere with our daily function. Doctors of Chiropractic emphasize the importance of proper posture, which allows for optimum function. Probably most of you are thinking optimum function is being able to perform your daily activities without severe pain, while working daily with mild to moderate stiffness and soreness. What most people don’t consider is that this everyday stiffness and soreness is the beginning of severe pain. If we can identify the destructive habits early we can prevent many of the physical complaints that could occur in your later years.
What most people don’t consider is that these issues should be addressed everyday and not just when their back hurts. Every morning we hit the floor on a dead run, lifting kids, briefcases, or extremely heavy purses, while our bodies are not ready to accept these lifting requirements. Believe me ladies I have weighed some of these purses and they can weigh anywhere from 5 to 12 pounds. So why don’t we stretch before the day begins, it usually boils down to time management and getting that extra 10 minutes of sleep. Don’t think I’m any different; My wife has to push me out of the bed. The only solution is adequate planning of your day, which would allow you the extra time in the morning to perform a stretching or warm-up routine.
For those in an office setting, you need to counteract the repetitive stresses and strains by taking a break every few minutes by alternating your tasks. Example, if your job duties consist of computer and telephone work, as with Leslie our front desk manager, you need to perform a series of neck exercises every 2 hours. We also work as a team in the office to identify poor posture, every staff member will act as the posture police and say quit slumping. Many times if you get your entire office to act as detectives, looking for poor posture, it will become a habit and your posture will begin to improve.
The men and women in manual labor occupations put different stresses on the body than the above-mentioned office setting. These people have problems that are increased by the “tough guy” attitude, for example, when a cattle farmer tries to carry all the feed in 1 trip instead of making 2 or 3. The same attitude can result in problems when the laborer won’t ask for help when lifting heavy objects. To get off to the right start, these people should start and end the day with the proper stretching routine, like the ones we used to do before sporting events. I feel this is a difficult group to convince because they believe their work gets them into shape. This misconception is established because the worker believes they are working out when they perform heavy manual labor. I will tell you that you are not working out you are repetitively stressing your body.
Correct posture is only one component of a healthy lifestyle. Exercise, adequate sleep, plenty of water, and having a nutritious diet not only keep you healthy but give you the ability to heal after an injury.