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Straighten Up!

We’ve all heard it since childhood- “straighten up!”, “stop slouching!”  When we’re kids, we think our parents and teachers are just picking on us, but as adults we start to see the effects of many years of slouching and the chronic issues that follow.  Although most people are concerned with the physical appearance of slouching, the consequences are much more profound than a rounded upper back.

If you sit at a computer all day, chances are that you already know that poor posture can cause pain in your joints and muscles.  Poor posture can also be responsible for numbness and tingling or weakness in the extremities and can certainly lead to body aches and headaches.  What most people don’t consider is what is going on in the inside.  Slouching and slumping can actually cause compression of organs, making it more difficult to breathe, digest our food, eliminate toxins from our bodies and can cause a number of symptoms including fatigue and digestive disorders.

Taking care of your spine today, means better health tomorrow.  Take the time and make the effort to care for your spine so that you will be strong, healthy and pain-free later on in life!  Follow these six steps to straighten up:

1. Get up:

Take breaks from your desk every 30 minutes.  Even if you just stand up and walk around for a minute or do some light stretching, this gives your body a chance to relieve the tired muscles that work so hard while you’re sedentary.

2. Invest in a good chair:

Because we all come in different shapes and sizes, an adjustable chair is a great investment to be sure that it will fit your body perfectly.  Get something with good lumbar support to be sure that your low back is protected.

3. Take a look at yourself:

When sitting in your chair, your hips, knees and elbows should be at least at 90 angles and your feet should be flat on the floor.

4. Practice awareness:

Making and breaking habits is a tough thing to do.  Place a post-it on your computer screen to remind you to straighten up (you don’t even have to write anything on it, you’ll know why it’s there).  You should be trying to keep your ears over your shoulders and your shoulders over your hips.

5. Get moving:

Joining a yoga or pilates class can be a great way to support your spine through both strengthening and stretching.

6. Get your spine checked:

After major traumas (car accidents, serious falls and sports injuries) and minor traumas (repetitive stress, prolonged improper sleeping, sitting or standing positions), spinal bones can become misaligned and stuck, which can also affect posture.  A chiropractic examination will allow your chiropractor to see if there is something biomechanical that may be interfering with your ability to achieve proper posture.