Who’s got your back?

May is good posture month

Who'sgotyourbackDid you know that examining your posture in the mirror can be a great self-screening tool to prevent back and neck pain?

We frequently look in the mirror to check our teeth or hair, but how often do we see what a chiropractor might see — one higher shoulder or hip than the other, head forward, neck muscles tight? These are often signs that you may have a pinched nerve.

Most people tend to wait until they have pain, another sign of a pinched nerve, before they do something about it. But pain is often the last symptom to show up. It is possible to have nerve irritation that can affect your body’s function in many ways before you have actual pain.


Why is posture important?

Good posture helps us stand, walk, sit, and lie in positions that place the least strain on supporting muscles and ligaments during movement and weight-bearing activities. Correct posture:

  • Helps us keep bones and joints in alignment so that our muscles are used correctly, decreasing the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces that could result in degenerative arthritis and joint pain.
  • Reduces the stress on the ligaments holding the spinal joints together, minimizing the likelihood of injury.
  • Allows muscles to work more efficiently, thereby lessening fatigue.
  • Helps prevent muscle strain, overuse disorders, and even back pain.

Several factors contribute to poor posture, including stress, obesity, pregnancy, weak muscles, abnormally tight muscles, and, yes, even high-heeled shoes. In addition, decreased flexibility, incorrect working posture, and extended sitting and standing habits can contribute to poor body positioning.


Maintaining good posture

To ensure proper posture, you need to have adequate muscle flexibility and strength, normal joint motion in the spine and elsewhere, as well as efficient postural muscles that are balanced on both sides of the spine. In addition, you must recognize your postural habits at home and in the workplace and seek to correct them.

Poor posture can lead to excessive strain on our muscles and may cause them to relax when held in fixed positions for periods of time. For example, you can see this in people who bend forward at the waist for a prolonged time in the workplace. Their postural muscles are more prone to injury and back pain.

This month, consider using chiropractic as a preventive healthcare tool rather than waiting until crisis mode and “My back just went out! Call the chiropractor!” Do a simple check of your posture and that of your family members to find out where (and how) you and they stand. And remember your mother’s sage advice: “Always sit up straight!”


Known as “The Gentle Chiropractor”, Dr. Una Forde is owner of Golden Sun Chiropractic Wellness Center in St Louis Park.  Services include chiropractic, acupuncture, health kinesiology, brain gym and detox programs such as ionic cleansing. She welcomes reader responses to goldensunchiro@gmail.com.