You remember when you were in grade school; how your gym teacher drilled into your head about how important posture is for your body? Think about that for a moment. Could you honestly still be able to balance that book on your head, let alone walk across the room without dropping it? So many of us let a lot of the things we learned as children, especially when it comes to sitting up straight or walking with our heads up. It is far too easy to just be “comfortable” and slouch our way through life.
If we practice good posture, walking properly and keeping our heads up and our shoulders straight, we would perhaps have less sore backs, less neck cramps and less of a host of other problems associated with our spines. If you are experiencing back pain or other back problems, it is not too late to correct the mistakes we all make from time to time. It starts with a chiropractic assessment to detect any spinal problems. Once you know what has gone wrong, most issues can be easily fixed through visits to a chiropractor, followed up with exercises at home.
At the Chiropractor
When you go in for an evaluation at a chiropractic center, the doctor can show you how to analyze your stance to see if you are doing what you should to keep it in perfect alignment. First an evaluation is done, which shows if your body is aligned so that the pull of gravity is evenly distributed over your body. At a glance, the doctor can tell if they could draw a straight line from your ears to shoulders, hips, knees and ankles. Your head should be centered, and your shoulders, hips and knees should all be at equal heights.
The most common mistakes that the majority of us make every day include: letting our head roll forward, letting our shoulders become rounded, which arches the lower back and tilts the pelvis out of alignment. Over time, this becomes habit and as we age, it gets more difficult to maintain the corrected posture. Chiropractic adjustments can correct these mistakes quickly and easily, and maintenance is easy if you keep regular appointments for adjustments and evaluations.
Posture Evaluation at Home
At home, you can assess your posture by performing one of two tests: the wall test or the mirror test.
1. The mirror test is perhaps the easier of the two. Stand facing a mirror, preferably full length, and check to see if your head is straight, your shoulders are level, your hips are level, your kneecaps are centered and facing front and your ankles are straight.
2. In the wall test, you stand with the back of your head touching a wall, with your heels six inches from the baseboard. With your butt touching the wall, place your hand between your lower back and the wall, followed by a repeat between your neck and the wall. If you can feel a gap of an inch or two between the wall and your lower back, and two inches between your neck and the wall, then you are close to where you should be.
You can also do posture improving exercises at home. Yoga is an excellent source of workout routines designed to bring flexibility back to your spine and neck. It not only has back exercises and neck exercises, it can also counteract your tendency to slouch, and increase your body awareness at the same time. Exercises like the Mountain Pose and the Bridge Pose, just to name a few are all designed to flex your spine, strengthen it, and help to correct any misalignments.