Good posture will do more than impress your mother

July 4, 2010

Stop slouching, sit up straight, and take notice…because here is one more thing your mother was right about: Posture does matter.

 

A team of physicians and researchers recently reported “Posture affects and moderates every physiologic function from breathing to hormonal production.”

 

On a strictly mechanical basis, it is easy to understand how abnormal posture can result in degenerative processes such as arthritis and disc disease.  Just as tires and mechanical parts will gradually be destroyed by an automobile which is out of alignment, our body parts will be worn out by the asymmetrical stresses of abnormal posture.


To fully appreciate the profound effects that posture has on the entire body, we must consider the body’s master control system- the brain and nerves.  Medical textbooks confirm that the purpose of the brain and nerve system is to control and coordinate all other systems, organs and tissues of the body.  Research shows that abnormal posture increases stress and strain on the nerve system.  According to medical periodicals Spine and the Journal of Neurosurgery, these increased stresses deteriorate the normal ability of the brain and nerve system to send messages to, or receive information from, the rest of the body.  This is because the stress of abnormal posture increases pressure on, and decreases blood supply to, the spinal cord and nerves.  Additionally, according to neurosurgeon and researcher Alf Breig, M.D., abnormal postural patterns interfere with the natural healing ability of the central nervous system.

 

Is it enough then to simply sit up straight and stop slouching your shoulders?  Certainly, it is important to be conscientious of posture in our daily activities.  However, the postural faults which are most harmful are those we can’t control.  Irregular spinal alignment causes these involuntary postural abnormalities.  Such damaging spinal changes may result from traumatic events (i.e. athletic injuries, automobile accidents), or the spinal changes may develop gradually as a result of many micro-traumas and the use of inefficient body mech