Spinal Health Starts with Proper Posture
Updated: Jul 6, 2018
Incoming patients mostly with neck, low back, and spine problems have long consultation because they are curious as to why they have such symptoms. It is more so to those who have no history of any notable accidents in the past.
A recent seventy-year-old patient, who got diagnosed about twenty years ago as "degenerative neck disc" but showed no signs or symptoms, visited the office with the same question when there was tingling sensation on the arm for the past three months. ‘Why is this happening to me?’ The main reason out of many is wrong posture.
Postures that have negative influence on disc is slouching on the seat while drooping the head for a long period of time. Especially extending the neck towards the computer screen, perching on the seat, lying on the sofa while watching TV, bending the neck to look at the phone-- they are all improper postures that disarrange the spine and muscle frame.
The spine bears double the weight when sitting than when standing, and wrong postures compress the nerve and tense up the muscle, leading to the imbalance of the body. Indigestion, dyspnea, bowel disorder, uterine compression, and other problems may rise because the slouching of the body causes the spine to affect the internal organs.
Blood vessels are absent around discs on lower back; therefore diffusion of neighboring oxygen and nutrients allow the internal compartments to survive. However, improper postures hinder this flow and cause problems. Frequent occurrence of this problem may damage the disc, and can lead to neck and low back herniated disc.
Few treatments cannot resolve neck and low back herniated disc because they have been developed over long period of time. Regular habits for improvement is most important to prevent herniated disc disorder. Depending on the efforts put regularly into maintaining proper form with right posture, and maintaining upright posture and firm muscle, can delay degenerative period regardless of aging.
How to self-diagnosis for Right Posture:
1. Front: Face the mirror and check where the eyebrow line, shoulder line, hip, and tip of your hands are located. Check if the right and left side are symmetrical. If both sides are not symmetrical horizontally, the hip is crooked while one shoulder is drooped down, which disrupt the body’s balance.
2. Side: The center of the ear, shoulder joints, slightly posterior of the hip joint, slightly anterior to the knees, and the front part of the malleolus should line up into a straight line. If the center of the ear is positioned in front of the shoulder line, then it implies Forward Neck Syndrome, also known as the Turtle Neck syndrome. If the waist slipped backwards, there is a disruption of the lumbar balance.
Helpful Exercises for Right Posture:
1. Standing Exercise for Upright Spine: Ten-minute practice of standing properly can transform the body to become upright. Lead on the wall, making sure that the ear center line, shoulder line, and hip joint are lined up in a straight line. Roll the shoulders backward and flex your abs. Extend the body as if you are extending the spine upward, while keeping the weight on the heels.
2. Cat Stretch: Kneel down and bend prone. The hands on the floor should be right under the shoulder, while the elbows are facing outwards (The position of the hand is important). Open your chest as wide as possible and lift it upwards for the first movement. Lower the hip as much as possible, lift the buttocks to the back, and remain in this position for ten seconds. Bend the back to form an arch and remain in the position for ten seconds while lifting up the back. Only when the head is bend downward there is a stretch on the back and hip area. Interchange the two movements for ten times.