Do You Have Poor Posture? Was Mom Right?
Sit up straight! Don’t slouch! Nag, Nag, nag! The ongoing ‘battle’ between gravity and the erect human form rages on and we certainly see it in our Chiropractic Root Cause's patients.
Most of our patients sit at their computers for many hours a day. Who would have thought that this ‘benign’ invention that requires so little effort to operate would be the cause of so much pain and suffering? After all, we’re just sitting in front of it (for hours).
Well, computer usage (or, rather, the posture we hold while using it) has been and is the cause of hand numbness, wrist pain, forearm pain, elbow pain, arm pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, headaches, back pain, hip pain, leg pain, and eye strain. And many visits to the chiropractor for much needed back pain relief.
Root Cause Medical Clinic: Proper Ergonomics At Work And At Home
Often a vast improvement can be made by an ergonomic evaluation of your workstation. If your company has a person who will do this, please request this ASAP. If you’ve changed workstations since your last ergonomic evaluation, schedule another one. If there is no one available to do this, go to see your local chiropractor for suggestions.
Once your office set-up has been ergonomically improved, don’t forget to make the same changes to your home computer. Many patients have told us that they had an ergonomic evaluation at work and things are good there, but then, upon further questioning, admit that they sit on the sofa or bed at home working on a laptop. Argh! That doesn’t work very well.
Posture And Ergonomics Go Hand in Hand At Root Cause Medical Clinic
Once your ergonomics at home and work are improved, (if you work on a laptop, you will require a docking station or separate monitor and keyboard for better ergonomics) then attention has to be paid to the next BIG variable – your posture. Here’s where a chiropractic adjustment and physical therapy can help.
If you’ve had poor posture for years, you’ve developed poor posture habits, or your physical fitness level does not provide the muscular strength to hold you upright for long periods of time, your structure may be out of alignment. A chiropractor and physical therapist looks at the body structure to identify imbalances.
How close are you to anatomical neutral – in other words, correct posture?
A history of injuries from sports, accidents, or poor postural habits, can create an abnormal structure that puts stress on your joints. Muscular imbalances can pull bones (especially vertebrae of the spine) out of place – what chiropractors call ‘subluxations’). These boney misalignments cause joint stress, inflammation, and can lead to pain and arthritis.
Root Cause Medical Clinic: Are Our Smart Phones And Cars Really Smart?
What is the newest craze on the market? Smartphones and tablets that have us looking down with our head forward, reversing the natural curve of the neck.
The vast majority of patients we see at Root Cause Medical Clinic who suffers from head, neck, or shoulder complaints, have lost the natural curve of their neck. When we take an x-ray of the neck, we see either a straight neck or a reverse curve, placing the head out in front of the body, rather than squarely resting on the spine.
It only makes sense that so many would have this problem considering all the time spent slouched (head forward) on the computer, looking at a hand-held smartphone, reading in bed, or sleeping on their back with a pillow that raises their head and reverses their normal neck curve.
Studies have measured increases in neck pressure from ahead (normally weighing 10-12 pounds) that is in a forward posture: for every inch, the head is forward of its normal position over one’s shoulder, you double the force exerted by neck muscles to hold the head up.
In other words, a 10 pound head in normal posture becomes a twenty to a thirty-pound head when slouching or working with your ‘smart’ phone.
When I test drove a ‘Smart’ car a few years back, I immediately began calling it a ‘Dumb’ car because the car seat was one piece – it didn’t have a separate headrest. The top of the car seat arched forward pushing my head forward, reversing my cervical curve. There was no way I could sit upright with good posture in that car seat.
Root Cause Medical Clinic: Treating the Cause, Not Just The Symptoms
I repeatedly tell patients that our goal should be, as much as possible, to be in an anatomically neutral position while walking, standing, sitting, and lying. In that position, there is the least amount of pressure and stress on our joints and the least amount of tension in our muscles.
Chiropractic adjustments and physical therapy help to return an unbalanced, misaligned body back toward anatomical neutral. In doing so, joint stress and muscle tension, and their concomitant pain are reduced or eliminated.
That is why patients come to see a chiropractor or physical therapist. At Root Cause Medical Clinic, we combine both approaches to not only relieve the postural stress symptoms of pain, weakness, or numbness but also to change the underlying causes of these symptoms – oftentimes poor ergonomics and poor posture.
Do you need help with your health?
We have the tools to discover why you may be having trouble with a weakened immune system. It’s not difficult as long as you’re ready to make some dietary and lifestyle changes. If that sounds daunting, don’t worry. We will hold your hand through the changes and make each step of change an easy one.
For more information, call Saratoga: (408) 542-0354 or Clearwater: (727) 339-6008
Dr. Rupa Chakravarty DPT, OCS
Director of Physical Therapy at Root Cause Medical
Doctor of Physical Therapy, Orthopedic Certified Specialist
Dr. Chakravarty has numerous certifications for different techniques in Physical Therapy practice. She employs an extensive array of manual as well as exercise techniques to manage her patients’ symptoms during their course of therapy.