The answer to this question is a resounding YES!
Surprised? Well, don’t be, you are not alone. The benefits of good posture may be among one of the best kept secrets of the current fitness and wellbeing world. Posture ranks right up at the top of the list when you are talking about good health. It is as important as a healthy diet, exercising, getting a good night’s sleep and avoiding potentially harmful substances like alcohol, drugs and tobacco.
In fact ask any chiropractor, doctor or health professional and they will tell you that when the spine shifts and the “arc of life” (40-45 degree curve in our neck) are compromised any one of the ailments listed below could be caused by your poor posture.
- Headaches – rounded shoulders can trigger the headaches at the base of your skull where the shoulder muscles attach.
- Jaw pain – a forward head position can lead to jaw pain (TMJ – temporomandibular joint disease), once considered only a dental problem, today we know that TMJ pain also may be caused or aggravated by poor posture.
- Proper bowel function – yes even this important bodily task may be affected by poor posture. If your shoulders are rounded and the head is forced forward it may affect your bowel function. If your spine arches and sways forward, your intestines may sag and cause constipation.
- Decreased lung capacity – “the forward head position can add up to 30 pounds of abnormal leverage pulling the entire spine out of alignment and may result in the loss of 30% of vital lung capacity” says University of California’s director of physical medicine and rehabilitation Rene Cailliet.
- Lower, upper, neck and shoulder pain – depending on your particular postural misalignment, at least one section of the spine will be compromised resulting in pain, stiffness, herniation or bulging discs.
- Nerve function – spinal misalignments may cause interference in basic nerve function.
- Joint pain/impaired movement – short tight muscles affect normal range of movement at the joints which in turn will impair functionality and cause pain and discomfort.
- Osteoarthritis – Osteoarthritis is the result of the severe degradation of the connective tissue between joints that protects the bones from rubbing together and causing pain. When posture disrupts the load bearing balance of your joints, connective tissue is worn down, exposing bone to bone. Occasionally, affected joints will calcify and fuse nearby bones in unnatural or painful positions, particularly in the spine and hands. Posture is particularly critical for osteoarthritis because the condition often exacerbates already poor posture, which can compound pain.
In fact the list could go on and on, I can add fatigue, dizziness, pinched nerves, muscle tension and spasms, carpal tunnel, fibromyalgia, rotator cuff issues to the above list and still not be finished.
As if these health issues weren’t bad enough take a look at a few aesthetic issues that could be caused by your poor posture:-
- Ageing – when you are slumped or hunched over and unable to stand tall you can add years to your appearance.
- Sagging breasts – being able to stand tall can help reduce the sag in your breasts by nearly 50%, the most natural, effective and inexpensive breast lift on the market!
- Protruding abdomen – tight hip flexors will increase the curve of your lower back, forcing your abdomen out making your stomach appear bigger than it really is.
- Thicker waistline – a collapsed ribcage can draw the ribs closer to the pelvis giving you the appearance of a “spare tire”.
- Flat derriere – tight hamstrings will pull your pelvis closer to your knees and I am afraid your bottom will follow suit and head south!
- Protruding jaw – when the head is carried too far forward, the jaw will protrude and give the face a very angular and severe appearance.
- Poor skin tone – as previously mentioned the forward head position will reduce lung capacity and therefore a reduction of oxygen to the skin, making it look dull and lifeless.
Unfortunately, intentionally or unintentionally today’s lifestyle means we sit for hours and hours per day, whether it be at your desk, in your car or in front of the TV, think about it, we even sit down to eat! This position will eventually force the body out of alignment, leading to lower and upper back problems, lack of energy, a collapsed ribcage, loss of waistline, loss of abdominal support, shoulders rolling forward and the head sitting in a forward position. Don’t think it is just us adults who are being affected either take a good look at your child’s posture, they are sitting for prolonged hours just in a normal school day let alone when they get home and sit at a computer for homework, play video games or watch T.V. You will be surprised how many teenagers are already suffering with back pain!
So whilst you might be taking a proactive approach to your health on a daily basis by eating healthy, nutritious food, exercising and getting enough sleep it might be time to take a serious look at your posture and seek advice as to how you can correct your particular postural alignment issues and with it you could also be correcting any one of the above listed health issues just by standing up straight!