This newsletter is a continuation of Part 1 on the subject of Chiropractic Wellness Care and Posture relating to posture problems and how you can help return your body to balance and good spinal health.
In a few short years computers have invaded our workplaces and homes and so has computer stress: eye strain, wrist pain and the other discomforts that occur from long periods of computing.
To relieve eye stress, keep your eyes at least 18″ to 24″ from the screen and rest them periodically – look out into the distance, or out a window. If you face a wall, place a mirror near or on your computer and focus on a distant object through it. Also breathe deeply because shallow breathing creates tension and fatigue. Remember to stand up often, walk around, stretch and relax.
Proper sleep position can relieve stress on spinal discs, brain and spinal cord, enhance body healing and repair, restore lost energy and improve psychological health.[i] If you awake tired, aching, tense and irritable it may be because of poor sleep posture. Any position that reverses your spinal curves puts unnatural stress on your spine, especially a “fetal” or curled position.
Stomach sleeping, which you should NOT do, is not good for your neck, mid back and hips and especially bad if you have back pain. A pillow or towel under the hips will help straighten the spine if you continue sleeping on your stomach.[ii]
An ideal sleeping posture is on your side, legs nearly straight, head level, and supported by a soft pillow. Laying on your back is second best, provided you have a pillow that works with your normal neck curve and does not strain your lower back. A pillow under your knees may relieve back and hip stress.
Since we spend about one third of our lives in bed, a good mattress is very important. In a comfortable bed most people move in their sleep 20 to 30 times a night. On a firm bed moving increases to 100 times a night.[iii] A mattress without any “give” in the hip and shoulder area will resist, rather than conform to your shape causing spine, shoulder and hip discomfort or pain. Also just as bad is a too soft, old or lumpy mattress that doesn’t support you at all or in the wrong places.
Scoliosis is a sideways or lateral bending of the spinal column, which has no known cure. Bracing and plaster casting are ineffective, emotionally scarring and surgery is often little more than a cosmetic approach. While not a scoliosis therapy, chiropractic should be a part of any scoliosis care since it improves self-healing ability and has often shown clinical effectiveness, “Traditional chiropractic concepts and techniques…..have shown positive clinical results in scoliosis control, reduction and correction.” [iv]
Return to Balance With Chiropractic Care:
Chiropractic is essential if you wish to return to spinal balance and reverse the damaging effects from years of improper spinal and postural alignment.[v] An unbalanced spine can distort the relationship between your head, hips, legs, shoulders and arms. As the doctor of chiropractic relieves postural stress on your nerves and muscles, you will discover increased balance, coordination and energy. That is one reason why professional athletes, who are exquisitely sensitive to their balance and structure, favor chiropractic care in order to maximize their performance.
Other methods to develop balance and poise include sports and exercise. They can be as varied as tennis, baseball, running, Tai Chi, yoga or martial arts (boxing, karate, kung fu, judo etc.). Ideally, they should be studied under a good instructor.
Posture is also a learned behavior. As children we unconsciously mimic those around us, including their posture and body movements, no matter how incorrect they may be. Various physical and movement therapies are available that can help you unlearn or at least become aware of your unconscious habits.
Posture and Personality:
It is no accident that you can often identify a person as fearful, happy, depressed or anxious merely by observing how they walk or stand. Emotional stresses that are stored as tension, spasm and stiffness among the 680 muscles in our body that affect the way we hold ourselves, stand, sit and move. There are a number of disciplines that release deep seated physical and or emotional stress, resulting in profound posture – and often personality – changes.
[i] Clinical Science Division, National College of Chiropractic, “Good bedding, an essential to health maintenance” 1975 p2
[ii] White AA, Your Aching Back: A Doctor’s Guide to Relief. Fireside Books :New York, 1991
[iii] Bed Research Laboratory, Stockholm, Sweden.
[iv] Barge, F. Letter to the editor. The American Chiropractic, June 1987, p.72.)
[v] Sherwood KR, Brickner DS, Jennings DJ, et al. Postural Changes After Reduction of the Atlantal-Axial Subluxation. Journal of Chiropractic Research, 1989; Summer: 96-100.