Why Your Posture Isn’t that Important
It may come as a shock to people who are my patients, and to the hundreds of people who wear my “Got Posture?” t-shirts, but you heard it here first….
Your posture really isn’t that important….
That’s right. I said it. Your posture; not that important.
Now before a team of chiropractors and yoga instructors come to burn my house down, let me explain my view on posture.
Most people look at posture from a box. It’s a box that says that poor posture is a conscious decision to allow your spinal muscles to be lazy and slouch. From this stand point, it puts many therapists in the precarious position of helping people. In order to fix bad posture, they have to fix bad muscles by providing exercises and stretches that are boring, tedious, and in all likelyhood, will never be performed enough to make a correction.
I’ve sat in on dozens of consultations where their doctor or therapist told the patient that their neck pain or back pain was a result of poor posture. Even the patients that go forward with the exercises see minimal change in their posture, and even less change on the problems they were hoping to solve.
Bad Posture is a Sign of health problems, not the cause of health problems
Any patient of mine will tell you that I pay excruciating attention to their posture. From head tilts and crooked shoulders, to rotated hips and short legs. I study them before an adjustment, after an adjustment, and everywhere in between. However, I don’t look at it from a muscular point of view, I’m looking for something much deeper.
Your posture is a window to the structure of the spine and the function of the nervous system. Your posture tells me about the condition of your body from a structural and neurological point of view. In the brain there are pieces called the brain stem and the cerebellum that are responsible for keeping your spine and body upright.
So we could look at this diagram here, and try to target every muscle and agonize over which ones are tight and need to be stretched, and which ones are weak and need to be strengthened. We can do a dozen exercises for 12 reps 3x/day, and watch how terribly unsustainable that is even for the most devoted patient.
When we understand that the brain wants to be in a strong, upright posture, and that a postural dysfunction is a SYMPTOM of a brain problem, then we can turn our focus on addressing the nervous system.
How Does Structure Affect Your Brain
When the structural alignment of your head and neck is lost, a few things happen:
1. Blood flow and CSF going out the brain becomes more sluggish
2. Ligaments that connect the spine to the spinal cord stretch and distort the cord.
3. There are tiny nerves that embed the muscles and ligaments of the spine that help tell the brain where the body is in space. When the spine shifts, these nerves start giving scrambled information to the brain and the brain has to guess where the body is in space.
When you put the 3 of these factors together, you have a body that will begin to twist, turn, and contort. That’s when you have wear and tear on the the spine and a slow gradual breakdown begins.
Does it work? Does it matter?
In my office, we see dramatic changes in the structure of someone’s spine after a light touch in the neck, and yes, we no doubt see posture change while under our care.
But here’s the truth, very few people are coming into our office to see their posture change, because truthfully, no one cares. Having better posture probably won’t change your life, and it’s not worth taking hours out of your day to exercise it better.
There’s one reason that posture matters. It is a possible sign of a brainstem problem which IS the CAUSE of your underlying problem.
If you are suffering with a health problem and coming up empty handed with an answer. It may be time to check your posture, and see if a Consultation with a Chiropractor may be the next step for you.
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