Spinal Health Week 2012, May 21-27

A healthy spine means a healthier life.  Spinal Health Week, a national initiative run by the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia, to educate Australians about the importance of spinal health in improving overall health and wellness.  Maintaining a healthy spine, can help you maintain a healthier life.

Posture & Health

Posture is the position in which we hold our bodies while standing, sitting, or lying down. Your posture directly affects your health.

When posture is bad, pressure on your spine is increased. This can lead to tension, soreness, headaches, back pain and fatigue.

Postural imbalance also compresses your internal organs, reducing their efficiency and normal function. This may cause such issues as respiratory problems, chest tightness, high blood pressure or poor digestion.

Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of poor posture. It takes a lot of energy to hold the body in an awkward position, and, in turn, alters our breathing capacity which can be diminished by up to 30%.

posture-whiteGood posture is the correct alignment of body parts supported by the right amount of muscle tension against gravity.

A good postural position permits you to breathe better, and as a result reduces fatigue and minimises other side-effects associated with bad posture.

Proper posture keeps muscles, ligaments, bones and internal organs in their natural position. This reduces wear and tear of joints, and relieves stress, improving health and enhancing your appearance.

Good posture can also increase self-confidence, with one study revealing that people adopting good posture not only display greater confidence but have a stronger belief in their own abilities than those with poor posture.

Correcting bad posture does take discipline, but there’s no doubt the benefits are well worth the effort.

The first step is understanding the bad posture habits our lifestyle may expose us to and then taking steps to address them.

So What Posture Are You?

In the Office

In the office

Our backs were not designed to spend long periods of time sitting at desks – a common feature of many work environments.

Spending six to eight hours a day in front of a computer can lead to shoulder, arm, hand and neck problems, as well as issues with balance and coordination.

One study has found that over 45% of office workers experience neck pain. Back problems are big contributors to lost productivity in the workplace.

Low back pain is one of the most common causes of disability among people of working age, and its impact on industry is enormous. It’s been reported that after headaches and colds, back pain is the third most common reason for taking time off work.

Specifically, the work-related physical activities that are believed to be related to the onset of low back symptoms include lifting heavy weights, bending and twisting, and, of course, working in the same position for extended periods.

Common Posture Problems

Forward Head Posture
Forward head posture is the most common postural defect found in computer operators .

Round Shoulders
Round Shoulders is distinguished by the hunched over appearance it creates, and is a poor posture that is often associated with office workers and computer operators.

Rotated Hips
Rotate hips can be caused by holding a poor position for a long period of time, such as sitting at your desk twisting to write as well as looking at the computer.

In severe cases, long term bad posture can lead to Scoliosis, a condition that results in the spine twisting from left to right, instead of running in a straight line from top to bottom. Depending on the severity, scoliosis of the spine can have a detrimental impact on vital organs, such as your heart, liver and kidneys.

Correcting Posture

The good news is that postural issues can be corrected, and even, in some instances reversed.

Ergonomic-tipsWhen in a working environment that requires a lot of desk and computer work, make sure your workstation equipment is ergonomically sound.

Take regular breaks – in fact you should take a 1 – 2 minute break every 30 minutes you spend sitting at a desk or workstation.

Mums

Mums

There’s no doubt that pregnant mums and mums with young babies carry a heavy burden – literally.

As we tend to our daily activities, posture is the last thing on our minds. Unfortunately, this can often lead to every day tasks – such as housework and social interaction – being performed in ways that are physically taxing to our health and our posture.

While postural issues don’t always manifest themselves in a manner that allow us to easily recognise we have them, back pain can be a clear sign that you may need to have your posture assessed.

Approximately 70% of women will, at some time in their lives, report low back pain. And during pregnancy, while 50–80% of women have reported back pain, one-third of pregnant women claim this low back pain is a significant problem.

Common Posture Problems

Uneven hips
Activities such as twisting to lift children out of cars, and frequent carrying of babies or young children on the hips, can cause your hips and shoulders to become uneven.

Forward Head Posture
As a woman’s body adapts to her changing weight and shape during pregnancy, the spine and pelvis realign to serve as a counter-balance . One of the issues that can arise from this is Forward Head Posture (FHP).

Dowager’s Hump (or increased kyphosis)
Dowager’s hump (or increased kyphosis) is another postural issue that can occur during pregnancy. It is a condition that increases the natural curve of the upper back.

Pelvis Forward
The increased weight from carrying a child can pull your pelvis forward, increasing the curve to your lower back (or increased lordosis).

In severe cases, long term bad posture can lead to Scoliosis, a condition that results in the spine twisting from left to right, instead of running in a straight line from top to bottom. Depending on the severity, scoliosis of the spine can have a detrimental impact on vital organs, such as your heart, liver and kidneys.

Correcting Posture

The good news is that postural issues can be corrected, and even, in some instances reversed.

Your local CAA Chiropractor can assess your spinal health and provide the Chiropractic care needed to improve it.

Your Chiropractor can also provide guidance on some exercises that, when done regularly, will help to strengthen your muscles and maintain improved posture.

Outdoors

Outdoors

Gardening isn’t exactly an extreme sport, but while you might not need a helmet to participate, you can take steps to avoid injury from maintaining improper posture.

Bending over seeding, weeding and watering, the hours can quickly slip by. Then there’s activities like digging, carrying buckets, pushing wheelbarrows and lifting. Done the wrong way, these activities can place strain and stress on our backs, particularly when our bodies are held in unsound positions over a sustained period of time to perform them.

It’s easy to understand how back pain can arise from our pursuits in the garden if we don’t undertake these activities in the right way. And not surprising that in general, about 80% of people experience low back pain at some stage in their lives.

DIY activities around the home can result in a high rate of injury. In Australia it’s been shown that of DIY injuries presented at an Emergency department, 75% of incidents occur in a residential setting, particularly the garden.

Any infrequent activity – whether you’re an avid gardener or a weekend warrior on the sports field – should be prefaced by a few minutes preparing yourself both physically and mentally.

Common Posture Problems

Dowager’s Hump (increased kyphosis)
In older people, it has been found that the greater the postural issue of Dowager’s Hump (or kyphosis) the greater the odds of experiencing difficulties in activities such as bending, walking or climbing.

Round Shoulders
Hunched over a garden weeding or planting can result in the condition commonly referred to as Round Shoulders, which is distinguished by the hunched over appearance it produces.

Uneven or rotated hips
Twisting to shift dirt from a wheelbarrow to a garden, or to pull out and pile up weeds can lead to issues with uneven or rotated hips.

In severe cases, long term bad posture can lead to Scoliosis, a condition that results in the spine twisting from left to right, instead of running in a straight line from top to bottom. Depending on the severity, scoliosis of the spine can have a detrimental impact on vital organs, such as your heart, liver and kidneys.

Correcting Posture

The good news is that postural issues can be corrected, and even, in some instances reversed.

In the first instance, give your posture a sporting chance. By preparing before you enter the garden and having a few simple rules in mind, you can minimise your chance of experiencing some of these common gardening afflictions. Our Gardening Tips offer a guide to some of these rules.

And aside from using the correct posture and tools, take frequent breaks and walk around and stretch, as staying in the same position for too long can contribute to a sore back later that night or the next morning.

Kids

Kids

In addition to the possibility of injury in the playground and on the sports oval, the seemingly innocuous trip to and from school also presents its own postural challenges to our kids.

According to an international study, daily backpack carrying is a frequent cause of discomfort for school children. School backpacks were felt to be heavy by 79.1% of children, to cause fatigue by 65.7%, and to cause back pain by 46.1%.

Although fashionable, many of the current bags children are using for school don’t allow for even weight distribution across the back. What’s more, many children put extra pressure on their spine by carrying their bags well below their waistline/lower back. And often a loaded school bag is heavier than the ideal – which is no more than 10% of your child’s body weight.

There have been links established between thoracic (middle back) pain in adolescents from postural changes associated with backpack use and participation in certain sports. Furthermore, the thoracic (mid) to lumbar (lower) regions of the spine can experience deteriorating posture as a person becomes fatigued from carrying loads, such as backpacks. It can take less than 20 minutes of carrying a load for this fatigue to start.

These problems are all the more concerning when you consider that spinal issues during adolescence can impact on the correct development of your child’s spine as they grow into an adult.

Common Posture Problems

Forward Head Posture
It has been found that a child is more likely to experience Forward Head Posture while wearing a loaded backpack.

Slouch (increased Kyphosis)
It’s been reported that adolescent soccer players have a greater likelihood to experience upper back postural issues, such as kyphosis (the technical term for a problem like Slouching)

Uneven hips
It is also not uncommon to see children carrying school backpacks on one shoulder rather than using both shoulder straps for even support. This uneven weight distribution across the child’s shoulders and back can cause a postural compensation and result in uneven hips.

In severe cases, long term bad posture can lead to Scoliosis, a condition that results in the spine twisting from left to right, instead of running in a straight line from top to bottom. Depending on the severity, scoliosis of the spine can have a detrimental impact on vital organs, such as your heart, liver and kidneys.

Correcting Posture

backpack-tips

The good news is that postural issues can be corrected, and even, in some instances reversed.

Use our Backpack Tips to minimise impact on your child’s spine. And your local Chiropractor can assess your spinal health and provide the Chiropractic care needed to improve it.

Your Chiropractor can also provide guidance on some exercises that, when done regularly, will help to strengthen your muscles and maintain improved posture.

Taking Action

1. Start by assessing your own posture.
Our self-assessment can give you an indication of postural issues you, or your family, may be experiencing.

2. Make an appointment with your local chiropractor.
There is no substitute for having a spinal expert assess your posture.
Chiropractors are five-year university trained professionals and chiropractic care is safe. Being spinal experts, chiropractors are best placed to assess your spinal health and provide the appropriate care to improve and maintain it.

3. Commit 3 minutes a day to improving your posture.
Just 3 minutes a day dedicated to exercises to improve your posture can make a tremendous impact on your long term health. People who regularly stretch and maintain a good range of motion are less likely to suffer the negative effects of immobility.

Information source from: http://chiropractors.asn.au


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2 Responses to “Spinal Health Week 2012, May 21-27”

  1. foot anatomy Says:

    I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you make
    this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you?
    Plz reply as I’m looking to create my own blog and would like to find out where u got this from. cheers

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