We are living the digital revolution which may go down in history as the worst influence to date, on the posture and structural health of the human body. In the past “normal posture” was a beneficial, positive expression of the human bipedal upright physique but as technology dominates our spare time, work and study environments, there is a rapid decline. Unless we do something fast, to re-educate our minds, re-train our body and re-integrate the correct neural pathways which influence our posture, the number of people presenting with problems which can be related back to postural issues, will grow exponentially. We have a major health issue on our hands. Do we wait to see the long-term impact or do we act now?
Ideal posture is standing tall, upright, rib cage lifted from the navel, pelvis half way i.e. not tucked under or sticking out and standing evenly on both legs. If a plum line was hung from the ceiling as a guideline, from a side view, it should run through our ear, the mid aspect of our shoulder, the middle of our hip joint and to the outer ankle bone. Holding our body in the ideal posture should require the least amount of muscle effort to maintain and minimises stress placed on our joints and supportive soft tissue structures such as ligaments and tendons.
Abnormal and potentially damaging stresses and strains are put through our body when we adopt poor posture, the effect of which becomes more significant the longer we stay in these poses or the more repetitively we adopt them. Long-term damage can be done and we lose the ability to use and move our body correctly, potentially leading to further problems or making us prone to injury during sport or a simple daily movement. It makes sense that the more our posture deviates from correct alignment, the greater the impact and the harder our body must work to keep us in balance.
We all know what good posture looks like. Don’t we? Yet TODAYS’s normal is far from the optimal, biomechanical design. A significant percentage, perhaps even much of the population, display examples of postural dysfunction. When normal no longer equals ideal, we have a problem; not just an in the home problem, or an at school problem, no longer a within the confines of an office space problem. We have an everywhere problem; driving in the car, waiting in a queue, walking down the road, even sitting in the waiting rooms of practitioners, like myself, who are dedicated to helping halt this metamorphic postural catastrophe. It is happening everywhere and the impact is a concern.
In times gone by younger generations could look to their elders for examples of good habits who had postural education taught through schools or handed down through speech the “stand up properly”, “sit up straight” delivered with varying tones of authority and degrees of nagging frequency. Let’s look at the elder members of today’s society; a far high occurrence of physical, dynamic body movements within their daily work and lives and questionably greater respect and value placed on what may now be considered old fashion values for “proper” body carriage. What example do we set for our children now? I have seen adults with aches and pains from postural issues for years in practise. Then it became teenagers which concerned me but when it now regularly becomes little kids, I’ll be frank, I start to panic!
When I start needing to adapt spinal rehabilitation techniques for kids so that they are a bit more fun to do and start going down the “sticker reward chart” avenue to encourage my young patients to help me get them out of pain by doing their home exercises, I say STOP. We have a major issue here and it is our responsibility as adults to recognise and acknowledge this NOW. Admit it, the problem of bad posture is not going away and there is no indication of its dilution. The clear majority of adults with chronic issues now did not have problems in their childhood. SO when the adult problems start appearing in childhood, what are we to assume THEIR adulthood will look like? We need to wake up and realise we as adults are helping create these postural habits so let’s shape up, get determined, lead by example and help create new habits.
It is the responsibility of practitioners with training in this field and passion to create change, to get out there and share our knowledge. Let’s open doors to create opportunity to educate, motivate and inspire our young people. If you’re in, I’m in too. Let’s make a change. Let’s change the postures of the future one family at a time. It is easy to do.
If you know a posture that needs our help call us at Little Spines, Longhurst Chiropractic on
03 595 0050. Dr Maybelle Heng or myself, Dr Andrea Dawson can help you make a change.