Our mothers always yelled at us for slouching, but is posture really that important for spinal and pelvic floor health? Or is bad posture just not aesthetically pleasing?
Your body is a complex mechanical structure, with each part being dependent on how the whole machine moves. Like cogs in a wheel, if one gets off track, there is a series of compensations and if that persists long enough, pain or injury will develop.
You can see in the sideview picture of your trunk that I included with this blog post, your spine is designed to have a couple of curves in it - not just one comma shape that hunches us over. We develop these curves as infants and that is what allows us to walk upright and interact with the world. In order for the curves to occur, the infant has to develop their core muscles by "exercising." They start on their back, experiment with moving their arms and legs. Then they progress to rolling, side bridges, crawling and eventually start getting up to a standing position.
The pulling and support of the strengthened diaphragm, abdominals, pelvic floor and multifidi start shaping the infant's spine into the upright, "good posture" we all know and strive for. Without this motor development, babies would stay in the fetal position they were born with -- which strangely looks like slouchy posture or that one big comma shape I was talking about before.
If the spine is not in correct alignment, the core muscles cannot function properly. That's when we start to develop spinal issues, problems with breathing, dysfunction of the pelvic floor which can lead to urinary incontinence, pelvic prolapse, pelvic pain and diastasis recti (splitting of abdominal wall) or even problems with our arms and legs if it's bad enough.
Assuming you had normal motor development, your spine was probably perfectly aligned at some point in your childhood. As we mature, we start sitting in chairs more -- staring at screens and slouching on the couch -- instead of exercising and rolling around on the ground. Maybe we had an injury or two along the way too like spraining an ankle or falling on the playground. If we don't get that body part moving, the body starts to change shape. Some spots get tight and others become weak. This is where bad posture comes from and that leads to uneven pressure on the muscles and joints. Eventually something becomes cranky and we develop pain.
In our modern society, even those who exercise on a daily basis develop tight areas and often weak areas in their core because we are not moving for almost all of our awake hours like our ancestors. This is why it's important to have your body regularly checked by a chiropractor. We see how well your spine can move, check your postural curves and assess your strength. By making some adjustments to loosen the tight spots and telling you where to strengthen (or stretch), we can keep these changes at bay, helping PREVENT pain, pelvic floor dysfunction, arthritic issues and disc problems. And if you are already having some of these symptoms, chiropractic care is also great and reversing the change, allowing your body to naturally heal.
If it's been a while since you've had a chiropractic check up or if you've never been checked, it's a good idea to schedule an appointment to see where you can make improvements with your posture BEFORE you start having pain. Take it from me...it's a lot easier to fix patients when they aren't limping in! If you are local to the Bloomingdale area, I am happy to assist. I also can help you find a qualified chiropractor for your friends or family might not live close enough to come to my office.