We are all familiar with bad posture. The hunched shoulders, the slouched back, and the neck leaning forward, have all become a regular pose in our day to day lives. This is how we work, how we lounge on the couch, how we eat at the dinner table, and how we drive. Our body is fighting back with soreness, tension, and aching muscles.
We know we need good posture, but our muscles are weak, and we quickly forget about the proper position. Our spine suffers as a result.
The Foundation of the Body
The spine, also known as the vertebral column and spinal column, is comprised of a series of stacked bones called vertebrae sectioned into three main segments:
- Cervical (neck)
- Thoracic (chest/trunk)
- Lumbar (lower back)
The Neck Region
The cervical part of the spine is composed of seven vertebrae. Its prime function is to support the weight of the head. The cervical region has the largest range of motion, partly due to the two specific vertebrae that move with the skull.
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These vertebrae are the smallest of the spine. The first is called the atlas and, unlike the others, has a ring shape with two nubs on either side to support the head.
The second is labeled the axis. It has unique bony ‘pegs’ on either side called the dens or odontoid that fit with the rings of the atlas vertebrae.
The slight curve of a human neck is dubbed the lordosis curve, resembling a reverse “C.”
The Chest Region
The function of the thoracic spine is the protection os the chest organs, particularly the heart and lungs. There are twelve vertebrae in this section that correlate with two symmetrical ribs, creating a cage over the inner organs. The thoracic spine has a natural kyphosis, also called a “C” curve. The cage causes this region to be less mobile than the cervical and lumbar.
The Lower Back Region
There are five vertebrae in the lumbar section, the largest in the spine. They are also aligned in the reverse “C,” creating the natural lumbar lordosis. These five vertebrae are the weight-carriers for the spine. (1)
Health Issues From Bad Posture
Proper alignment of the spine ensures the muscles, joints, and ligaments to function as intended. Slouching causes the organs to work at lower efficiently since they may not be in their correct position to operate.
- Fatigue. Your muscles become exerted just from holding you up. Much energy is wasted on basic movement, thus leaving you chronically exhausted.
- Achingly tights muscles in the back, arms, legs, and neck.
- Joint pain and stiffness. Poor posture can contribute to worsening arthritis.
- Headaches. This comes from the rounded shoulder position.
- Jaw Pain/TMJ
- Decreases lung capacity.
- Lower back pain
- Interference with nerve function
- Constipation. This is due to the sagging intestines from faulty posture.
- You appear aged. (2)
Do these exercises every day to align your spine and improve your posture
Aligned for Life
Good posture is as crucial to one’s well-being as eating well, sleeping enough, exercising regularly. Without it, you are not properly fit. To create lifelong spinal alignment, be aware of excess weight, injuries, eye-straining, firm mattress, exercise regime, and of chair and desk structures. (3)
With your back straight and head held up, you will look and feel more confident. Face every new day with your best foot forward, not your shoulders.
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(1) Natural Healing Magazine. IN JUST 2 MINUTES: EFFECTIVE TECHNIQUE FOR ADJUSTING YOUR SPINE (VIDEO) http://www.naturalhealingmagazine.com/just-2-minutes-effective-technique-adjusting-spine-video/ Published: August 17, 2016. Accessed: September 27, 2016
(2) (3) Kansas Chiropractic Foundation. Good Posture. http://www.kansaschirofoundation.org/goodposture-article.html Accessed: September 27, 2016
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