Why Posture is Important For Us

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Growing up, I’m sure most of us have heard, “Stand up straight!” from our parents, or maybe we’re the ones saying that to our own kids. Poor posture is becoming more and more common with the rise in gadget use and work conditions that require long hours at the computer. We all know that we should be thinking about (and practicing!) good posture as we live our daily lives, but why? 

 

Increases Proprioception – Reduces Fall Risk

‘Proprioception’ is a key concept in physical therapy or chiropractic that refers to the body’s ability to sense its own position, movements, and actions in space. These proprioceptive neurons are really important because they help you to figure out how to stand, sit, walk, and basically move in any direction.

When we have poor posture, our proprioceptors that exist in our joints and muscles can become a little wonky, which affects how we start to move. One research done in the occurrence of low back pain in older adults found that increased kyphosis (the ‘hunchback’ posture often seen as one gets older) changes the way they sense position, causing worsening stability and increasing fall risk (1). 

 

Increases Proprioception – Also Prevents Back & Neck Pain!

Besides reducing fall risk, good proprioception also helps us to prevent back and neck pain! When we are aware of how our body is positioned, including whether we are in positions where our joints feel extra strain and stress, this helps us avoid awkward postures and movements that can actually exacerbate pain. Good posture ensures that our body weight is distributed evenly across our skeletal structure, reducing the strain on our muscles and joints.

 

When we start to feel pain AND we have poor joint and body awareness (from long-term poor posture where our body feels like it’s ‘normal’ to be in such positions), we may unknowingly continue to perform movements that worsen our condition. This can put unnecessary stress on our joints, which can eventually lead to slipped discs or muscle tightness, affecting our joints. 

Sometimes when we perform our assessments and place clients in a proper upright posture to show them how it should be, they feel like they are falling down! Or when we ask them to lie face down as straight as they can, their body ends up in a slanted position which they feel as though it is ‘straight’. This is normally a sign of poor proprioception due to poor posture over a long period of time. 

 

Reduces Fatigue Over Time 

With good upright posture, our lungs and ribcage also have space to expand when we breathe in oxygen. We don’t normally see athletes with poor posture when they play tennis, swim, or run! Upright posture helps to increase our lung capacity, and contributes to optimal muscle functioning, which can help us feel more energetic and less tired.

 

 

Posture + Motion = Well-being

Overall, good posture distributes the force of gravity through our body so no one structure is overstressed. This alignment allows us to move easily, so our body supports our weight without strain. It also helps to improve respiration, improve blood flow, and promotes the well-being of nerves and blood vessels which supports all our muscles, ligaments, and tendons. 

Add that on with good mobility, and you get an interconnected and complementary aspect of overall physical health and well-being. If you feel as though your posture and mobility has taken a backseat over the years and want to get it checked out, contact us for an appointment today! 

Research:

  1. Sakai, Y. et al. (2022) Proprioception and Geriatric Low Back Pain. Spine surgery and related research, 6(5), 422–432. https://doi.org/10.22603/ssrr.2021-0269



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