Did you have those parents that always told you to “Sit up straight”, “pull your shoulders back” and “don’t slouch!”. At the time you may have rolled your eyes and thought how annoying your parents were, but the fact is you should have been going up to them, giving them a big hug and saying thank you!
You see posture is more than just an aesthetic thing. Yes, we look much better when we stand up tall and pull our shoulders back but the effect our posture has on our health goes much further than just what it looks like.
First Let’s think about what poor posture looks like.
Usually we see that the head drops forward, our shoulders become rounded and our low back sways out. All you have to do is look at your child or colleague sitting at a computer to see this posture. This posture also tends to cause things like back pain, neck pain and headaches. When we think about what this posture looks like you could say it looks like we are ready to run or we are ready to fight – this is a result of the sympathetic nervous system.
Sympathetic Dominance & Posture
When our sympathetic Nervous System (our fight or flight response) is activated we tend to default into this posture. This is due to activation of parts of our brain stem that drive this response. Not only does it cause our head to fall forward and our shoulders to roll but we also get tensing of the hamstrings, buttocks and shoulder muscles. The sympathetic nervous system activates in times of perceived stress and unfortunately in today’s society this is pretty much a daily occurrence. Stress can be from a physical, chemical or mental/emotional cause and most people today are bombarded with multiple stressors daily. When this becomes a chronic occurrence, it is likely you are suffering from something we call Sympathetic Dominance.
Usually with sympathetic dominance the stressor comes first causing our body to react and trigger this posture. This is an automatic function which means we have no conscious control over it. The issue doesn’t stop there though. When we are in this poor posture our body is sending constant feedback to the brain constantly communicating that it is in this position and is ready to fight or flight on demand. This then creates a negative feedback loop where the stressor is coming in telling your brain to be stressed and your posture is also sending messages saying you should be stressed. All this happens without our actual conscious control.
Having this posture can also be detrimental to other areas of your health. When our sympathetic nervous system is activated it means that our parasympathetic nervous system (rest & digest) is suppressed. These 2 systems work like a seesaw constantly trying to balance each other out. Our parasympathetic system controls things such as digestion and repairs everything in our body while we sleep. When this system isn’t allowed to work then we start seeing issues in other areas of our health.
How can we help our posture?
Previously I mentioned that this typical poor posture happens without our conscious control so doesn’t that mean we can’t fix it? Well that certainly isn’t the case. There are many things we can do to influence our posture and therefore help switch off our sympathetic nervous system. The best thing about it is these tips are not hard to do!
Fixing your posture
Practice proper ergonomics when using your phone/tablet/computer
Use a posture pole daily
Strengthen posterior muscles such as your glutes, lats and the muscles in between your shoulder blades
Stretch anterior muscles such as your pecs and hip flexors. It is also important to stretch your hamstrings.
Get adjusted by your Chiropractor
Chiropractic adjustments helps ensure proper communication between the brain and body and vice versa. This will help to optimise the activation of your outer brain which will help calm down your brainstem (where the sympathetic activation comes from)
If you want more information on this then we recommend reading the book SD Protocol by Dr Wayne Todd and if you have any questions on posture then we would love to hear from you either in the practice or via email.
In our busy, modern-day lifestyle our choices are influenced by two simple questions: 1. “How long will this take? – I am time poor”. 2. “How much energy is this going to use? I’m tired and still have so much to do today!”
As health practitioners it’s no surprise to us that studies are finding people who live a more simple and active lifestyle experience huge health benefits. Being active doesn’t mean slogging it out in the gym for an hour every day but making some simple changes to increase activity levels can potentially improve your back and neck pain, prevent high blood pressure, lose weight and lower your stress levels! Read more
Do you or anyone you know suffer from headaches? Maybe chiropractic can help! It is well known that headaches are one of the most common conditions people suffer with, and here at Hawker Chiropractic in the Belconnen region of Canberra, we certainly have seen a large number of patients who suffer this affliction regularly. It is because headaches are so common that a lot of people believe that getting a headache is ‘normal’. However, a persistent or re-occurring headache is a sign that something is wrong within one of the many systems in the body.
Sciatica itself is not a diagnosis but rather a symptom experienced by the individual as a result of some compression of the sciatic nerve within the body, usually within the pelvis. True sciatica is pain radiating along the sciatic nerve, which runs down one or both legs. The sciatic nerve is the largest and longest nerve in the body, starting from the lower back and running all the way down the back of the leg to the foot.
At Hawker Chiropractic in the Belconnen region of Canberra, we have a team of professionally trained female massage therapists to look after all your aches and pains. Most people will want a remedial massage when muscles feel tight, or we develop pain in areas: back pain, neck pain, foot pain, headaches, sprains and strains. Sometimes we just want some relaxation and time away from the pressures of family or work. We can even use remedial massage to help recover after sport or to deal with other conditions such as anxiety or posture problems. However, most people don’t realise that massage can have a positive effect on the many systems in our body. We have put together a quick list of how a remedial massage can positively affect your whole body and even your mental health. Read more
Back pain has become an epidemic in our society with some studies suggesting that around 80% of people will experience it at some stage in their life.
Low back pain is a condition which causes confusion within the community because of the number of origins and treatment options. Studies are showing that surgery is not the best option and drugs are somewhat ineffective (in some cases). However, there are activities that you can do in your everyday life to help alleviate some of your back pain.
We want to tell you about 3 underlying issues that may be causing or contributing to your low back pain and give you some advice about how chiropractic and/or massage and acupuncture could help. Read more
Do you have an area of your body that is in pain? Have you got back pain, neck pain, headaches or even foot pain? Before reaching for the packets of pills why not try something natural like acupuncture. It has been around for thousands of years and has a huge number of studies confirming its efficacy. You can find it being used in private practices, hospitals and rehab centres worldwide. Not only does it relieve pain but it helps with emotional disorders, hormonal imbalances, injuries and stress related conditions. Read more
Mobile devices, such as phones, tablets and laptops have changed our lives, mostly for the better. They allow us to be reachable at the press of a button and give us access to a wealth of knowledge right at our fingertips. But like most things in life they do come with a downfall. One large problem with our increased use of technology is a phenomenon called text neck. Here are 5 things you should know about it:
Text neck is caused by poor posture Specifically the poor posture is from constantly looking down at a phone or laptop. This sustained posture puts extra stress on the cervical spine causing wear and tear and eventually degeneration in some of the structures. Over time what we see is the reversal of the cervical curve which puts a large amount of pressure on these structures and reduced the function within the neck. Additionally, it also affects the cluster of nerves that come out of your neck which can further lead to pain and dysfunction. Read more
When you see your chiropractor for some sort of back pain you wouldn’t expect them to look at your feet would you? However little do people realise that the feet are crucial in the overall structure and function of your spine.
Your feet are the foundation to your whole body! Most of us have to stand on them every day and this foundation has a direct link to the way your spine works. Let’s look at it like this, if you think about the foundation of a building you would expect that it would need to be level in order for the building to be sturdy and straight right? What would happen if part of that foundation started to collapse even by an inch or so? The building above it would be affected, maybe not very visibly at first but things will start to change. And then if that building foundation continues to collapse you start noticing some other changes. Maybe you would notice a crack in the ceiling? A door not closing as easily as it used to? A window being jammed? What if you did not fix that foundation? It wouldn’t get any better, actually it would just keep getting worse until the whole building collapsed. It is the same with our body. If the arches in our feet collapse initially we might not feel anything but over time we may get symptoms such as foot pain, knee pain and even back pain! Read more
Health specialists at the University of York have found than acupuncture treatment can boost the effectiveness of standard medical care, lessening the severity of chronic pain and depression.
In a report published in the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Journals Library, the researchers showed that there is significant evidence to demonstrate that acupuncture provides more than a placebo effect. Professor of Acupuncture Research, Hugh MacPherson, working with a team of scientists from the UK and US, brought together the results of 29 high quality clinical trials focused on patients treated with acupuncture and standard medical care. In the majority of these trials, patients with chronic pain treated with acupuncture and standard medical care were tested against those who were provided with standard medical care alone, such as anti-inflammatory drugs and physiotherapy. The trials involved approximately 18,000 patients diagnosed with chronic pain of the neck, lower back, head, and knee. The report shows that the addition of acupuncture compared to standard medical care alone significantly reduced the number of headaches and migraine attacks and reduced the severity of neck and lower back pain. It also showed that acupuncture reduced the pain and disability of osteoarthritis, which led to patients being less reliant on anti-inflammatory tablets to control pain.