Top Ten Posture and Body Sins
People often say to me as a chiropractor, why is my posture/body like this? Why did these joints get stiff, muscles get tight etc? Why is it that they don’t stay good and I keep needing help?
Well the best way I can explain it is to get you thinking about your everyday life. There are many stresses on the body but the main ones can be thought of in terms of three main categories. These are physical stressors, emotional stressors and chemical stressors. The first two are pretty self explanatory; the third category chemical includes things like the food that we eat or don’t eat. Think about what are you exposed to on a day-to-day basis, what do you do? Our modern daily lifestyle isn’t quite tailored to how we are designed or what we were made for.
I have made a list below of some of the top ten body or posture sins that many of us commit. How many can you relate to?
1.) “It’s normal to have a bit of neck/back ache isn’t it?”
This is typical of our stoic British attitude. We get on with things, we get used to it and don’t necessarily realise that things can actually be improved and we don’t have to suffer as much. People’s favourite for this is headaches. When I ask my patients how often do you get headaches, the reply is more often than not, “Oh, not very often just the usual.”
Just the usual! What is usual? Is it right or normal that we should be getting headaches? So, the first sin that we commit is accepting our lot. Not getting help, not realising our potential.
A common part of many people’s modern daily life. Each day millions of people sit on their way to work before sitting at their desk for several hours. To top it all off, there’s often another long commute home. Our back/body doesn’t like to be in one position for long periods at a time, particularly with the lower back sat in flexion (slumped). This puts more pressure on the lower back and discs. We are particularly at risk if we have to sit for long periods and then jump up and do something very active.
3.) Poor desk set up/ Working on a laptop
Many of us are at fault with this. We sit with poor posture looking down at a computer or laptop. Our chair may be less than ideal or we may be constantly sat at a twisted angle due to phone or mouse set up. The ergonomics of our work station is set up are important, we spend a lot of time there! Make sure yours is set correctly. If you are not sure how, ask for some advice.
Are you always on the go? Are you too busy to stop, eating at your desk? Many of us work in high pressure environments where we are constantly meeting deadlines, dealing with problems and so on. If you imagine in your head for a moment a stressed person, imagine what they look like, how they are sitting, the look on their face. Now imagine a happy relaxed person. Which of the two’s body is the most unhappy? Which is sat with their shoulder hunched up round their ears, looking and feeling anxious?
Our body goes into the fight or flight mode, except we are not exercising. This affects how we hold ourselves but also the stress hormones going round our body. Stress is well documented to be an important cause and contributing factor to bad health and it is important that we find ways to tackle or deal with this if we are to be as healthy as we can.
5) Text thumb, phone neck etc…
A new breed of conditions and complaints coming out of our technology-centred world! How much time do we now spend looking down, texting, on Facebook, Twitter etc. Playing computer games makes kids’ (and adults’) live more sedentary. By exercising less and maintaining a poor diet the modern British child runs the risk of a whole host of problems in later life. Their musculoskeletal system and general health will suffer, bad habits are formed and are so much harder to fix later on.
6) Poor lifting/carrying
Think about your job: what do you do physically. There are lots of people out there in manual jobs whose back could be spared by just having a bit of extra knowledge in how to lift well. Often I see people who think they are doing it right but they REALLY AREN’T! It’s small but very important changes that we can make to how we do things.
When you consider you might do those things hundreds of times a day it is easy to see why they are so so important to do right. An investment in looking after you body will mean that you can keep doing what you are doing, keep working and keep earning money.
Poor nutrition simply means that our bodies can not function well. You wouldn’t expect that your car would run well if you didn’t put the right stuff in and it is the same with us. Poor nutrition can affect our bone health, meaning we get more wear and tear, poor function and ultimately we can’t do the things we used to be able to it could even manifest in physical discomfort. Our body needs enough of the good stuff to heal and repair and to have enough energy.
8) Couch potato-ing
This is similar to the point about activity above, if we don’t use it we will lose it. Slouching, inactivity, excessive TV watching all leads to our body being unconditioned and achy. Falling asleep on the sofa is one of the biggest sins, waking up in awkward positions feeling sore. If you are tired, go to bed!
9) Not getting enough sleep
Leading on from the last point, sleep is so so important. It is when our body repairs and heals itself. If we don’t get enough sleep we are more prone to getting ill. We also make poorer food choices, get more tired and stressed, leading to us becoming more run down. Our body likes routine and shift workers struggle in this area.
It is essential to think about your feet. High heels are not great for posture or back health and yet many people where heels almost every day.
I could write much more on each of these points. But as a starting point, you should consider this to be a quick checklist for you to consider. It is interesting to note that these points often go hand in hand. If you are stressed, you are often sleeping badly, eating badly not getting enough exercise and so on. When people come to see us and all these factors are in play, part of helping them get well is helping them to address these factors.
Getting well is always a joint effort, I always tell people I cannot do this on my own, I cannot do it for you. You have to want to get well and put some time and commitment into doing it. If you want it, I will do my best to help you.
Our bodies are amazing. They have an incredible ability to adapt and compensate. However, we can only adapt so far and then the problems start emerging. Unfortunately for us, sometimes they adapt well enough and hide things well enough that we don’t know there is a problem or can ignore it.
Think about the damage done to a smoker’s lungs or to our arteries in heart disease. The damage is being done way before we can see or become aware of it. This makes it easier for people to ignore, but if we want to live a healthy, quality life we need to think about the things we do every day and how we are living.
It is much like the old dental analogy: back in the day there were not so many sugary sweets, foods and so on, but now they are commonplace. For this reason we are advised to brush our teeth every day and have regular dental checks and hygienist appointments. This is the same idea for your body’s general and musculoskeletal health – except that rather than just being the bit in your mouth, this encompasses your whole body!
Finally, our biggest sin is thinking we can’t change things and simply accepting the deterioration in our health. I am here to tell you that you CAN change things, you CAN become more healthy and it starts with being aware. So have a look over the points above and think about how many of these you might need to tweak a little and how you might start to do that.
That’s all for now folks. If you are looking for chiropractic in Eastbourne, have a look at our website for more advice and information. If you have any questions, please feel free to use the comments section below or join the conversation on the Lushington Chiropractic Facebook page.
If you found this helpful check out our other Blogs on helping with Posture problems:
By James Revell
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