In this 200th anniversary year of the birth of Henry David Thoreau, each of us can increase our health and well-being by applying his guidance to our regular exercise activities. Thoreau, one of t ...View Article
You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.
Posture and Balance
Good posture should be a relaxed, comfortable and balanced state providing you with stability, poise, and energy. Research suggests that many spine problems are preventable because they result from poor posture and body mechanics, which subject the spine to abnormal stresses. Abnormal stress over time can lead to structural changes in the spine, including degeneration of disks and joints, lengthening or shortening of the supportive ligaments and muscles, and wear and tear of cartilage. All of these structural changes can lead to pain. However, there are many things that you can do each day to minimize current spine pain and prevent future episodes from occurring. (Think of your body, especially the spine, as a machine that needs regular care and maintenance to keep it functioning properly and efficiently. For example, does your car work properly when the alignment is off?)
The key factors to taking care of your back and neck center around three concepts:
1.) Learning and practicing good posture
2.) Using good body mechanics during the day
3.) Regular exercise Let's explore each of these in turn.
The foundation for good neck and back care starts with posture. Bad posture can be the cause of spinal pain, it can make existing pain worse, and it certainly can make the pain last a lot longer. Poor posture is also a factor in conditions such as chronic headaches, TMJ dysfunction and shoulder pain. Many people spend large portions of their day sitting or performing tasks that require bending forward or lifting. Think about your lifestyle, the postures you assume, and the activities you perform each day. The basis for good posture is maintaining a "neutral spine." A neutral spine retains three natural curves: a small hollow at the base of the neck, a small roundness at the middle back, and a small hollow in the low back. A neutral spine is neither rounded forward nor arched back too much. Maintaining a neutral spine is a dynamic process as you transition from one position to another