Posture is a hot topic for Chiropractors!
As Chiropractors Dr Pauline and Dr Brent often get asked questions about posture as it relates to a healthy nerve system(1). Posture is closely related to systemic health through nerve system function. Here are the top 3 habits that are sabotaging your posture and your health.
#1 Posture and Holding Baby on your Hip
New moms spend a lot of time carrying their baby, and it feels natural to prop babies and children onto one hip, leaving one hand free to multi-task. However, this posture, with one hip jutted out, puts an enormous strain on the postural muscles in the hips, low back and shoulder. More often than not, we favor one side (usually to allow the dominant hand to be free), reinforcing this bad posture over many years.
Of course, holding your baby is unavoidable, and an important part of the bond between mom and baby. When holding, be conscious to switch sides often so that you spend equal time holding the baby on each hip. Consider baby wearing for when you will be holding the baby for more than a few minutes, and choose a carrier that allows your spine to stay in a neutral position and posture.
#2 Posture and Sitting on your Wallet
Ottawa Chiropractors ask if you think its a good idea to sit on your wallet like this?
Many men carry their wallets in their back pocket, and inevitably, end up sitting on them. This means that you could be sitting with a 1/2 to 1 inch wedge under your hip and drstically affecting your posture. Now, most men don't end up sitting on a slant - they shift their spine to the side to compensate. This repeated behaviour can have lasting, painful effects, from low back pain to sciatica. This problem is so common it has it's own terminology: "Wallet Neuropathy". Try switching to a money clip to carry the essentials in your front pocket, acquire a fashionable man-purse, or simply take your wallet out of your pocket every time you sit down.
#3 Posture and Crossing your Legs
Whether you're perching your ankle on your knee, or fully resting one leg on top of the other, crossing your legs causes us to sit unevenly on our sit-bones (the pelvic bones). Just like baby-holding and wallet-sitting, an uneven pelvis spells trouble for the the rest of the spine. Sit with both feet beside each other on the floor, with your knees bent at 90 degrees. If your chair is too high for this, place a foot rest under your feet.
All three of these bad posture habits lead to misalignments in your pelvis. A misaligned pelvis has repercussions all the way up your spine and down to your feet. Misalignments in your pelvis put strain on the lumbar and thoracic spine as your body tries to compensate for the imbalance. It can lead to uneven shortening and weakening of the muscles in the hips, buttocks, legs and core. Gait imbalances can ensue, which may lead to injury in runners. All of these factors can cause subluxations, which ultimately means reduced body function, increased joint degradation, muscle tension, and pain.
The good news is that chiropractors can correct the misalignments caused by poor posture - but only if you do your part by correcting these bad habits that are sabotaging your spine!
1)“The impact of positive sagittal balance in adult spinal deformity” SPINE 2005 Sep 15;30(18):2024-9