“If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it,” or so the saying goes… Although that common wisdom may be useful when it’s applied to electronics, it’s less helpful when it comes to our posture. All too often people don’t do anything to improve their posture until they’re experiencing chronic pain. Unfortunately, at that point, degenerative damage can only be halted, not reversed.
Chiropractors hate to see that happen, particularly when there are ways to prevent degenerative damage. In our step-by-step guide to improving your posture, you’ll learn to sit and stand straighter, walk taller, and ultimately prevent the type of muscle and joint deterioration that creates unnecessary wear and tear on the body.
4 Easy Steps to Improve Your Posture
1. Get a Posture Evaluation
Because most people have grown accustomed to slouching, they tend to feel normal when their posture is incorrect. For that reason, people typically do a poor job of assessing their own posture. That is why your first step to having better body position is to see a chiropractor for a posture evaluation.
During an assessment, your chiropractor will conduct a physical examination to see if your spine is properly aligned. He’ll take X-rays of your spine which will show how your bones are aligned, the impact they’re having on your joints, and whether there are any signs of degeneration, such as arthritis of the spine. He’ll also discuss environmental variables that may be affecting your posture, including the types of daily activities you participate in, the position of your workstation and the height of your desk chair.
Based on all of these factors, your chiropractor will design a treatment plan that prevents stress on your joints and keeps you strong while also improving your posture. Thus, an assessment is an easy and safe way to get started on your journey to better posture. Don’t omit this step!
2. Have a Chiropractic Adjustment
Once your evaluation is complete, you’ll want to receive regular chiropractic adjustments, as outlined in your treatment plan. Chiropractic adjustments manipulate the spine, correcting structural alignment and improving the way your body functions.
When you visit your chiropractor for an adjustment, he’ll ask you to lay face down on a padded table. Your chiropractor will then apply a controlled force to specific joints, pushing them beyond their usual range of motion.
Don’t worry. Experiencing pain during an adjustment is rare. At most, people may feel a mild, brief discomfort. And if you ever go to a chiropractor’s office, you’ll notice most people are smiling when they leave. During this corrective phase of treatment, your chiropractor will most likely recommend you come in for regular chiropractic adjustments three times a week for two weeks. This frequency is necessary to set the foundation for health by stabilizing your nervous system, muscles and spinal alignment.
When you’re moving step-by-step to improve your posture, don’t skip your adjustments. You want your nervous system to be in agreement with your plan to straighten out and stand taller.
3. Move More
No posture improvement program is complete without exercise, which should include both exercises your chiropractor prescribes for specific issues as well as other physical activities.
Exercises Prescribed by Chiropractors
Because people with poor posture often have a combination of weak and tight muscles, your chiropractor will give you homework so you can continue developing better posture at home. Typically, the homework consists of performing stretches and strengthening exercises several times a week. For instance, he might recommend you stretch the pectoral muscles (the muscles in your upper chest) to bring the shoulders back. At the same time, he would also have you perform exercises to strengthen the muscles that hold the shoulders in an upright position.
If you spend a lot of time at the computer, he might suggest reverse shoulder shrugs. With this exercise, you’ll stand up straight and then lift your shoulders toward your ears before rolling your shoulders back and down. This movement opens your chest while extending your spine.
Chin tucks are another common exercise you’ll find in a treatment plan. With a chin tuck, you’ll sit straight on the edge of a chair while maintaining a level gaze. Then, you’ll slowly tilt your head toward your chest, holding the pose for several seconds. This stretches your neck muscles, promoting better posture.
Other Physical Activities
Like most doctors, your chiropractor will want you to get regular physical activity. Not only is exercise good for your heart, but it also promotes better posture. Also, chiropractors can attest to the power of exercise — patients who work out regularly (without overdoing it!) tend to require fewer chiropractic treatments.
Because your core muscles work to stabilize your spine when you’re engaged in an aerobic activity, spinal alignment improves. For example, if you’re on an elliptical trainer, your body needs to work to maintain your head’s position on top of your body. Also, toning activities like Pilates, barre and yoga build core muscle strength and, thus, also improve posture.
When selecting an exercise plan, choose an activity you like. The more you enjoy what you’re doing, the greater the likelihood you’ll stick with it.
Commit to Tune Ups
Once the corrective phase of your posture treatment is complete, you should continue to see your chiropractor for maintenance care. Just like you visit your dentist twice a year to prevent cavities, these maintenance treatments are “tune-ups,” designed to prevent future spinal alignment problems. You’ll likely need to schedule these appointments every four to eight weeks for maximum benefit.
Be Proactive About Your Posture
Do you want to remain active into your senior years? Prevent chronic pain? If so, this step-by-step guide is one of the best ways to do it. You’ll keep your joints and muscles in tip-top shape, prevent deterioration, and avoid unnecessary effects of aging.
Rather than just getting by with an “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” mentality, use our simple chiropractic step-by-step guide to improving your posture. You’ll see how much better your body responds to the philosophy, “Fix and maintain to prevent it from breaking!” Think of it this way. You would fix the alignment on your car to save your tires. So why not have a chiropractor fix your own alignment? You can always buy new tires, but you only have one body.
To improve your posture with chiropractic care, call (610) 853 9000 or contact our Havertown office now to schedule a free consultation.