Did you know your posture affects your nervous system?
And your nervous system matters because it controls:
- Coordination, movement, balance
- Body temperature
- Learning and memory
- Emotions and thoughts
- Puberty, fertility
- Sensing and perceiving your world
- … just to name a few
Your nervous system is so important, you have armor to protect it – your spine and skull.
Your spine also allows you to be upright.
When we have bad posture, especially forward head or hunched, the spinal cord gets pulled against the inside of the spinal column.
The spinal cord is supposed to be suspended in the spinal canal, not rubbing against it.
Over time, this starts wearing down the spinal cord.
This can affect all the aspects your nervous system controls.
And when something affects the nervous system, it’s affecting overall health.
But it doesn’t even have to go this far for poor posture to negatively impact your health.
Now, many have already noticed that getting adjusted let’s them stand / sit up straighter again.
And there are further steps you can add to support your spinal / overall health.
Many activities have us hunch forward (looking at our phone, working on computers, reading, even cooking and gardening)…
So we want to counteract that forward / hunching posture.
One of my favorite ways to do this is this chest opener exercise:
- Put a long foam roller on the floor
- Lay on the foam roller where the foam roller starts at the base of your head and runs down along your spine
- Open your arms to the side and let them rest on the floor
- Slowly move your arms along the floor, paying attention for any position where you feel tension
- Let your arms rest where you feel this tension
- If you can, stay like this for 10 minutes (you can slowly build up to it)
You’ll notice that this exercise puts you in a good posture, while allowing your back muscles to relax from their stretched position…
…and your chest muscles get to lengthen from their constantly shortened position.
10 minutes is great because our ligaments change length slowly, and 10 minutes gives them the time to do just that.
Consistency is key here!
In some cases, another great option to support you is KT Tape.
I mention this brand because they have great videos to explain how to apply the tape properly.
Their neck and shoulder video shows a taping pattern that helps create a biofeedback loop that helps you improve your posture over time.
Another aspect to consider is how many pillows do you use at night?
If you use a couple of pillows, really bringing your head forward, this is a bad idea.
While there is no one perfect pillow, I can tell you your head should not be pushed forward by your pillow.
Also, you’ll want to bring any screen you use up to eye level.
For example, my desktop computer screen sits on a couple of books so the screen is at eye level.
When the monitor is lower than eye level, even if you start off with good posture, slowly you’ll start sinking down as your eyes come down to the level of your monitor.
For many of us, we also need to strengthen our back muscles.
To me, that means we need to be more active.
Whether that’s squats and pushups, or going for walks or doing yoga, choose whatever works for you.
If you do choose walking, you can add a good backpack and add a little weight to slowly increase your back muscle strength more.
And for a little extra push for why we need to pay attention to our posture, good posture:
- Reduces stress
- Can improve your mood
- Improves energy levels
- Improves balance
- Improves your strength
Start with the parts that seem most doable to you.
And keep in mind that it is the interplay of all the aspects that is important.
When joints aren’t functioning correctly and the nervous system struggles, that chiropractic adjustment is going to be necessary to support all of your other efforts.
At the same time, only getting adjusted and not doing any of the other pieces won’t get you as far either.
It’s all about that harmony and balance.