Just this morning, one of my patients, we’ll call him Chris, came into the office with back pain. He has recently moved to the Meridian area with his family. They have been busy loading and unloading boxes. His pain increases with bending forward to tie his shoes, and has made him very uncomfortable during normal activities in the day, even when driving.
Addressing the Problem:
After the simple exam to rule out anything more serious, I had Chris lay down on the table and applied a heat pack to his lower back in order to increase blood flow and to relax him. After 10-15 minutes of heat, I adjusted Chris’s back and his hips. I then sent Chris into the next room with our massage therapist for 60 minutes to further relax his back. By the time Chris walked out of the office, he said he felt like a new man! He could bend to tie his shoes without any back spasms and he could sit in his car without any back discomfort. He’s scheduled to return for a follow-up in three days. Chris will need to take it a little easy for the next two weeks, but he’s going to be back to his yard work and honey-do list very soon.
People don’t usually think about their posture until they feel back or neck soreness, but waiting for pain to set in before improving your posture puts your biomechanics (ability to move and function) at risk.
When it comes to good posture, sitting up straight is the crucial first step. But your alignment should continue through your neck and head. To improve your posture, practice sitting as if your back and head were flat against a wall and your head is being drawn toward the ceiling. Hold this posture for one full minute at a time, at least every hour, until it becomes a habit. It’s an exaggeration of ideal posture, but it helps the body reset and allows muscles to be engaged in the back that are too often either underworked or overly relaxed, and it also allows the ligaments a break that have been bearing the resting postural load.
Additionally, having your chiropractor adjust your spine regularly will support this posture training. As I adjust patients, I increase movement in their spine and reposition their shoulders back and then down. Both of these directions (back and down) are equally important. This position requires muscle contraction and concentration. Some minor discomfort is not unusual.
People who consistently practice good posture are healthier, they feel better, and they appear more physically attractive to others. I’ve treated many patients with headaches due to tension in the neck and upper back from poor posture related to their work tasks. Research and clinical studies have shown that headaches and certain types of migraines are triggered by poor posture. As you become more mindful of your posture and choose to practice good posture, you will be amazed at how it improves your life.