As a CBP based chiropractor who understands that structure determines function, I take the orientation of the spine and one’s posture very seriously. Every single patient under my care undergoes corrective chiropractic care, where I serve them to realign and restructure their spine. With regular chiropractic adjustments and the help of chiropractic exercises, patients take the advantage of healthier nervous systems but also gain optimal posture and spinal alignments, resulting in improved function and pain.
The reasons why a well-balanced structure and posture is so important is that, if your spine is not aligned properly, your posture is affected, and if your posture is not optimal, your body becomes prone to asymmetrical gravitational loading on the spine and its associated structures, which leads to asymmetrical and accelerated degeneration and damage.
As I put great emphasis on structure, the most frequently asked question in my office is “what is the best posture?”
Good posture is actually a common sense, however today, poor posture is so common that many people think it as a normal part of daily life and the aging process. Just like anything else, just because it's common, it doesn't mean it's normal. Good posture is not only known to provide us with better health and function, but studies have also shown that people with good postures are oftentimes more likeable and more successful in their everyday lives. So other than being under regular chiropractic care, what is the best thing you can do for yourself?
To understand what the best posture is, we need to go back and study the posture from the past. DNA evidence today shows genetically, that humans have hardly changed at all. To be specific, the human genome has changed less than 0.002% in the past 40,000 years. Although our genes and therefore our bodies have hardly changed, our cultural and social expectations today have transformed almost beyond recognition. There’s increased levels of stress, social competition at work, life and relationships -- even the foods we consume have completely changed. Studies have shown that “There is increasing evidence that the resulting mismatch in lifestyles (between our ancestors' and our modern world) cause 75% of all death in the western world, but are rare among persons whose lifestyles reflect that of our pre-agriculture ancestors”. Our ancestors were always on the move, hunting and exploring; essentially their survival depended on good health. But today, most of us are being forced (or even consciously choose) to sit all day in front of computers, smartphones and/or TVs. It weren't like this few thousand years ago, -- our ancestors were always on the move.
A professor of architecture from UC Berkeley, Galen Cranz says “There are problems with sitting and standing. No posture is perfect. As a species we are designed for movement. The best posture is the next posture.” Our bodies are designed to move. Currently the average American spends about 30 years of their life sitting, and studies have shown that the main promoters of degeneration and delayed healing is due to immobilisation and sedentary lifestyle. Due to our sedentary lifestyles, the most common postural distortions and spinal misalignments are forward head postures and hyperkyphosis (slouching and hunching back).
With increasing hyperkyphotic posture, there is a trend towards greater mortality. Those with hyperkyphotic posture, there were approximately two times more likely to die from pulmonary causes, and were 2.4 times greater to die from atherosclerosis (Kado et al, Hyperkyphotic Posture Mortality in Older Community Dwelling Men and Women).
Sedentary lifestyle is an unhealthy habit that we can train ourselves to avoid, but for some of us, it is almost mandatory that we sit in front of a computer all day long. My advice for you would be, take shorts breaks in between and keep moving and exercise. But my best suggestion for all would be go to your nearest chiropractor to have your spine checked.