July 4, 2011

Staten Island Chiropractor Dr. Victor Dolan's Guide to Good Posture

Why is Good Posture So Important?

"Because you want to avoid a lifetime of neck pain and back pain," says Staten Island Chiropractor Dr. Victor Dolan.  Dr. Dolan stresses, "There are amazing life-changing benefits associated with the consistent application of good posture."

Only if your spine is properly aligned with its natural curvature from the ears to the shoulders to the hips, knees and down to the ankles and feet, is your entire body in balance.

We suffer from stress-related pain and dysfunction related to bad posture.  With poor posture--standing or sitting or walking--our body fails to optimize circulation of blood, breathing, functioning of our musculature, functioning of all your major organs.  Even the brain begins to malfunction, degrading your mental clarity.

Simply put, poor posture stresses the spine and pinches the nerves which run through your spine.  These pinched nerves result in ever decreasing and ultimately failing functionality of your muscles and organs, your circulatory system and your nervous system.

Achieving Good Posture yields amazing benefits.

Improved Breathing.  Improved breathing and flow of oxygen to the brain increases your ability to think.  With good posture your brain literally gets more oxygen so you will think more clearly and feel less tension and stress.  Good posture helps you breathe easier and feel lighter and more alive.

Improved Appearance.  Folks with good posture are always regarded as more attractive and appealing, radiating self-confidence and the flow of good physical health.  You will feel good about yourself as you stand tall.  The way your hold your body has a direct relationship to how you feel.

Eliminate Health Challenges.  Improper posture can over time result in numerous health problems, including but not limited to increased risks of slipped disc, back aches, back pain, neck pain, knee and joint pain, headache, poor circulation, poor placement and formation of internal organs.  Good Posture gives your diaphragm and rib cage more room to expand as you breathe.

How did you wind up with Bad Posture?

Well don't blame yourself.  Modern life and gravity as we age tend to slowly shift us out of the natural alignment with which we were born.  With all of our modern electronic conveniences and our indoor desk-bound jobs, most of us spend way too much time sitting down. As spend hour after hour pretzel-shaped in our desk chairs slouched in front of a monitor, we accumulate great tension and stress in our spines, and they don't always snap back into proper position when we stand up.  How you carry yourself now has now become a matter of ingrained habit.  After years of poor posture you will need to make a conscious effort to readjust how your spine as it runs along your neck and back.  Attaining Good Posture can prove a challenge.

You may ask yourself how did my back get in such bad shape?

As you can see, you put a lot of effort into achieveing a bad back, and you didn't even know it.  But don't worry too much.  The very fact that you are reading this information right now shows you are on the right path to Good Posture and Pain Relief.  With a deeper understanding of how your spine works with the rest of your body functions, you will be able to correct your health challeges and finally find relief from your neck and back pain.

So let's read on and see how you can get Good Posture.

What exactly is Good Posture?

Posture is how you hold your body when sitting, lying down, walking or standing.  Good Posture does not mean keeping your spine totally straight as many folks seem to believe.  Good Posture is actually about maintaing the natural concave curves of your spine, of which there are two:

o   from base of your head to your shoulders

o   from your upper back to the base of your spine

You will know when in the right posture as it will feel almost effortless to maintain the position.  When you stand, the weight of your body is evenly distributed across the balls of feet and not the heels or toes.  If a straight line can pass through your ear to your shoulder to your hip to your knee and finally to your ankle, then you've got it right.

Easy Relaxation Tips While at Your Desk:

Let go of your mouse and remove your hands from your keyboard every half hour.  This releases the tension in your wrists, arms, shoulders and neck.

Look away from the computer screen every 15 minutes.  Focusing your eyes on a monitor for hours at a time tenses up your entire body (not to mention blurring your vision).

Breathe deeply.  Open your up lower rib cage and lift up your torso from your hips.

If are getting your sitting posture correct, your weight will be evenly distributed in the chair between your hips, thighs and low back.  Remember as you try to re-train your body into a new sitting posture habit that is more dynamic than just slouching into a chair, it may feel more tiring initially.  This is because you are using your back muscles in a new way. At the same time, however, you will be rewarded with a lighter feeling and easier breathing.  The whole interior of your body will feel like it has opened up because previously you were literally smashing your internal organs together while slouching and sitting at a low angle.

Exercise for Good Posture

You need to engage in exercises which strengthen the muscles along your neck and back which control how you carry your spine.  Some good practices which will help guarantee long-term back health include pilates and yoga.  I also find the introduction of the exercise ball into your exercise routine to be very beneficial.

Getting a professional massage can be very helpful also.

However, perhaps most effective and the exercise which yields the quickest result is Simple Stretching.

Four Simple Stretching Exercises Which Will Help You Achieve Good Posture

I have designed these easy stretching exercises to help you improve the alignment of your spine.  These exercises work by making you more aware of your posture.

If you do them every day, these Stretching Exercises will help you achieve good posture and eliminate neck and back pain.

Exercise One:  The Neck Stretch

Slowly glide your head backwards without tilting it about an inch until you feel mild tension.

Exercise Two:  The Chest Stretch

Extend your arms out to your sides at shoulder height, then bend your arms at your elbows with palms pointing upward. Squeeze your shoulder blades together.

Exercise Three:  Back Stretch

Place your hands behind your head and gently pull your elbows backward. Then gently press your head against your hands.

Exercise Four:  The Shoulder Stretch

Put your arms out to the sides with your hands up and pull your shoulders together in the back. Now make small circles with your arms.

When do you need a Health-care Professional?

If you are suffering from any of the many ills that Poor Posture yields, the most effective action you can take may be going to a health-care professional who can evaluate your condition, identify your symptoms and design a program to safely and quickly get rid of your neck and back pain.

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