Good posture is one of the healthiest things you can do for your body – inside and out! Not only will you look better (just like our mother’s told us over and over again….) you will feel better. Do you know that posture moderates every physiologic function from breathing to hormone production?!
Our high-tech lifestyle does not help matters. We hunch over our laptops while we work, eat, and sit in the car or in the coffee shop. We crash on the couch for hours and hours, slouching while we watch entire seasons of Mad Men, House of Cards, Breaking Bad. It all wreaks havoc on our posture, our body and our overall health. There’s something called forward head syndrome that comes from the technologically-attached posture I’ve described – shoulders and upper back round forward causing the head to hang over forward. You get up from your laptop in that position and unfortunately it becomes your posture when you’re up walking around…not good for the body and not the intended design! Look around, you’ll see this posture in a lot of people – young and old.
When we stand, gravity and the weight of our head (about 10 pounds) push down on our bodies all day long. Our rib cage is designed to protect our organs, be an anchor for muscles and support for the head and neck. The heads proper position is directly over the rib cage. When you have forward head posture, there is strain on the rib cage, strain and compression of the organs, strain on the spine.
While you might be thinking back pain, shoulder pain or maybe neck pain would be the only result, this combination of misalignment of the forward head position can lead to a long list of ailments including:
- Headaches develop because the brain is sensitive to oxygen flow – when the head is bent forward, the muscles next to the arteries in the neck and head do not fully assist the uphill travel of blood to the brain, decreasing the flow of oxygen and creating the headache.
- Shortness of breath can occur when the forward hunched upper body compresses the lungs beneath the rib cage depleting lung capacity by as much as 30%. It’s difficult to take a full breath and get enough oxygen to all parts of the body.
- Decreased Spinal Mobility because the weight of the misaligned head is pulling the spine into an unnatural curve, movement is painful and restrictive.
- Constipation or IBS can occur when the large intestine is compressed and proper digestion is compromised, which can create blockages in lieu of regularity.
- Plantar Faciitis even! You won’t believe this but all that misalignment in your upper body can cause foot pain!! The forward head creates an unstable gait as your body struggles to stay upright and can cause you to constantly put more weight on one of your feet. The uneven pull of the muscles can cause micro-tears in the connective tissue (fascia) on the bottom of the foot!
So, when you think of posture, you probably don’t think of these maladies but I want to encourage you to see the whole picture of posture and its effect on your health and your quality of life. That’s the beauty of Egoscue! At Pain Free Performance we look at the entire body, re-introduce the original design of the musculo-skeletal system (total alignment) to relieve pain, to restore function and give you back your life!