By Dr Charles Lee, Medical Advisor & Senior Wellness Consultant
Having a good posture is very important in promoting optimal health. Not only does it influence our physical appearance but also our mental/psychological health as well. For example, just try to stay sitting crouched and immobile for even a minute and you will immediately start feeling tired, tightness around your neck and shoulder area, lazy and even start to have negative feelings! Try it! So these are couple of immediate responses of our body towards bad posture; however, if these conditions are ignored over long period of time it can lead to greater health risks such as chronic neck pain, low back pain, chronic stress, increased muscle fatigue, and even decreased immune system.
So what can be a source or underlining problem that may cause bad posture?
Well, unfortunately our body has a natural tendency to degenerate after the age of 19 or 20, which is near the end of our growth period. And one of the hidden problems that are ignored by many is the health of the discs, which are in between the spinal bones. The disc has a primary role of “balancing” the spinal bones on top of each other and also acts as shock absorbers/cushions between them. However, unlike other organs or tissue of our body, the discs have very poor blood supply.
This means that they have reduced capability of self-repair against trauma or natural body’s cycle of tissue repair. So the bottom line is, even if we have never had an accident in our life (falls, car accidents or sports injuries) with time the discs in our spine will degenerate faster compared to other organs or tissues due to poor blood supply.
Beside our body’s inherent condition, Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSI) are one of the common cause of stress on the spine. These are not immediate traumatic injuries such as falls, heavy lifting, sports injuries or car accidents which can show symptoms soon after the incident; instead, repetitive tasks such as sitting long hours at the office or school, working in front of the computer or even house chores are some of the causes of RSI that build up there ill effects over a period of time, day after day and year after year.
So what can we do to maintain a healthier disc and spine therefore improve upon our posture?
Well, first we have to measure and make an assessment of the condition of the spine To do so, we have a computerized analysis of a person’s posture and it is given a posture number as you see on this model. This analysis gives the patient a clear picture of how their posture is affecting their body. Then the next step is to have a specific X-Ray analysis of the spine to see the condition of the bones and disc themselves. Now, this X-ray analysis has a different goal from the conventional X-ray that you may take to see if there is any fracture, dislocation or bony diseases. It is specifically geared to find the slightest misalignment or poor condition of the spine, which may promote bad posture or add to the ill effects of your daily activities. It is important to understand that it is not proper to judge the health of your spine by symptoms alone.
Last but not least, we have a method of having a complete analysis of your body’s nutritional condition. There is saying "we are what we eat" and this is totally true especially in our society where most of us and younger generations are relying more and more on fast food or what I like to call them “fake foods”. Basically, if you go to the grocery store, real foods include the fresh meat, fish, fruit and vegetable section and all the rest of the store, which is the majority of the store, are basically modified or tainted food for our convenience. Knowing what your body is lacking or in some cases having too much of can determine the limitation of your body’s ability to function at optimal health.
After these parameters are analyzed, non-invasive joint specific spinal manipulative therapy may be necessary at to alleviate the stress causing area of the spine. Once the problematic area in question has regained proper function and balance, then proper re-education of the supporting muscle groups become very important in order to maintain the work that has been done to the spinal alignment. Re-educating involves a series of rehabilitative exercises that is problem focused to bring necessary adaptation of muscle groups to a newly aligned spine. Proper nutrition will accelerate proper healing process helping the individual to a faster recovery.
Everyone can benefit from having proper posture. Good posture for kids can promote healthier joints, improve sleep quality, maintain proper function of the immune system and maximize growth; whereas, at the other end of the spectrum, there are professional athletes like Tiger Woods, Andy Roddick, Arnold Swartzeneger, and Lance Armstrong who are the highest level athletes that have benefited from receiving consistent spinal care. Everyday hard working adults will benefit from decreased levels in stress and be able to resist against aggravating working conditions to maintain healthier life style.
In our society today there are two types of medical care: health-care and sick-care. It is unfortunate when medical care has to be limited to sick-care where the only solution to the problems is drugs and surgery. However, OmniGreen Wellness is striving to be the leader in health-care with proactive and preventive drug free approach to health.
Article contributed by: OmniGreen Wellness