New Year, New Posture: The Power of Sitting up Straight

Posture westwood

Posture is all in your head

Of all the health goals you could set for yourself in 2018, improving your posture has a tremendous upside. We are not saying it will be easy, but if you can learn to be aware of your postural shortcomings and make a concerted effort at overcoming them, you will go a long way toward improving overall wellness. The truth is, posture requires effort; it requires the coordination between body and mind. All of us know that we should, “sit up straight,” but even those of us who set out to heed this advice often find ourselves slouching and slumping after an hour or so. Step 1 is conquering the mental game- establishing awareness of when you have given up on your good posture and resetting. 

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Support Your Spine By Resetting your Posture

posture reset

Your spine consists of four primary curves

The cervical curve at the top of your spine consists of 7 vertebrae in a concave shape; the thoracic consists of 12 vertebrae in a convex shape; the lumbar 5 of the largest vertebrae in the spine forming a concave shape; and finally the sacral curve, consisting of 5 fused vertebrae and a convex shape. These curves link together to form the S-shape of your spine, enabling it to compress and expand in order to perform shock absorbing and movement duties. The essential shape of your spine is important for staying upright and preventing pain, but there are many forces working against you. Over time, the compressive nature of gravity, along with other factors, conspires to alter the curvature of your spine. 

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Text Neck: Posture in the 21st Century

text neck

Text neck is the preeminent posture of the 21st century

Your neck was designed with a lot of things in mind, but the cell phone is not one of them. The next time you are out in public take a look at how people interact with their devices: a common sight is the phone held below the chest and the neck craning down to read. Chances are you use your cell phone in just the same manner and this is problematic when you consider how much we use our phones during the day. Text neck is an overarching term for a host of conditions that result from the overuse of cell phones and the poor posture they inspire. 

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How Modern is your Posture?

forward head posture

Forward head posture is the defining body position of the 21st century

Forward head posture (FHP) is not a new thing- it’s been around forever under the more common moniker of, “reader’s neck.” But what hasn’t been around forever is its pervasiveness in society: more people, and younger people, than ever are walking around with their heads jutting forward; after all, it’s a natural instinct when you are looking at your cell phone all day. Let’s define the scope of this problem.

Why is forward head posture undesirable? 

Besides making you look slightly funny, forward head posture is problematic for a number of reasons. Let’s set up the scenario: head follows screen, and spinal imbalance occurs. For every inch your head leans forward from its balanced point atop the spine, you are adding another 10 pounds of downward pressure on your spine. People with forward head posture generally carry their heads between 2-3 inches forward. Is that any way to treat your already beleaguered spine? 

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