by Stephen Thwaites Chiropractor Osteopath
Good posture is important for health. Bad posture leads to back pain, muscle fatigue and improper alignment. Slouching may seem to be more comfortable but a poor sitting posture especially sitting at a desk for extended periods will cause pressure on the discs in the spine and may eventually make you much more susceptable to the development of serious back problems
Core stomach muscles
The stomach muscles especially the deeper ones associated with the core of the body work in conjunction with the muscles of the back to support the body in alignment. Poor posture during prolonged sitting will lead to weakness of core muscles and this weakened support of the structure will lead to improper alignment cause back pain.
Importance of good blood supply
Poor sitting posture increase compression forces on the discs and prevents the flow of blood which is essential for health of these tissues causing deteoriation of the intervertebral discs and eventually leading to reocurring back pain.
The neck supports the considerable weight of the skull on its slender structure. The pressures that are placed upon the neck when the head is held in a forward position are increased exponentially. The neck is the most flexible portion of the spine and unlike the rest of the spine has very little bulk of muscle to stabilise it. I call the neck the ‘great compensator’ of the spine as it will always try to adapt to whatever twists or torsions are present elsewhere in the middle or lower spine. Neck problems are often in fact indicative of problems elsewhere in the spine in turn caused by poor posture. Sitting long hours at a desk may cause loss of the natural alignment of the neck and result in chronic strain and tension of muscles also resulting in reduction of blood supply to the neck and head.
So it’s easy to understand that muscle tension and reduction in blood flow are brought on by poor posture but these problems may lead to and affect the central nervous system the most common symptom being headaches. Tension and postural headaches are often associated with neck and upper back pain and a feeling of tightness around the base of the skull or back of the head. More serious headaches or migraines may also be triggered with symptoms such as throbbing, splitting pain and even a complete aversion to any external stimulus such as noise and light causing further intensity of pain.
Breathing disorders and chronic fatigue
Poor posture cramps the thoracic spine and also the rib cage reducing the ability of the lungs to take in oxygen and can ultimately create a lack of oxygenation of the whole body and lead to repeated feelings of tiredness, lack of energy and even so called chronic fatigue syndrome.
Poor posture causes stress and pressure in the body, may lead to chronic pain, muscle problems and spinal disorders. Sitting properly and taking regular stretch breaks is really not that hard but does require some discipline and attention. A regular reminder such as my handy little ‘Stretches for desk workers’ card prominently displayed near the computer or work station will encourage good posture, keep muscles and joints flexible thereby ultimately increasing productiveness, well-being and importantly prevent some of the problems discussed in this article from developing.