A 20 year University of London study of 4,200 men aged 40-59 showed a strong correlation between losing height and mortality, The researchers concluded that slouching postures caused an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and respiratory mortality.
Studies have concluded that bent forward upper to mid back curve appears to be independently associated with an increased risk of adverse health outcomes, including impaired pulmonary function, decreased physical function capabilities, and possible compression fractures. According to the 31st Annual International Conference of the IEEE EMBS Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, September 2-6, 2009; over time poor posture leads to back pain, muscle aches, headaches and can lead to long term complications such as osteoarthritis.
Who knew that a little slouching could do so much damage?
1. Deepens depression
In a recent study from San Francisco State University, students were told to either walk down a hall in a slouched position or to skip. The slouchers reported increased feelings of depression and lower energy than skippers.
2. Causes career problems
Slouching doesn’t just hurt your attitude—it can affect how people see you. You don’t want to walk into somebody’s office slouching and bent over, because people really do perceive you as not as vital.
3. Increases risk of death and disease
A recent Australian study found that after the age of 25, every single hour of television—i.e., slouching on the couch—reduced the viewer’s life expectancy by 21.8 minutes. Plus, when English researchers cross-referenced sitting time with health outcomes in a different study, they found that those people who sat the most more than doubled their risk of developing diabetes and had a 147 % increase in their risk for cardiovascular disease, even if they exercised.
4. Stresses you out
A recent study from Harvard showed that when people who adopted powerful postures (open shoulders and straight spines) had a 20% increase in testosterone levels and a 25% decrease in cortisol levels—but people who slouched had a 10% decrease in testosterone and a 15% increase in cortisol. That translates into low self-confidence and high stress. And sitting slouched over can compound the problem. Shallow chest breathing strains the lungs, which must move faster to ensure adequate oxygen flow, and taxes the heart, which is forced to speed up to provide enough blood for oxygen transport. The result is a vicious cycle, where stress prompts shallow breathing, which in turn creates more stress.
Are you in Alignment?
Optimum Alignment allows for one’s posture to be balanced in relation to their center of gravity.
This balance is achieved when all components of the kinetic Chain are optimal. This includes the combination and interrelation of:
1. Soft tissues (muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia)
3. The nervous system
When the Kinetic Chain is optimally balanced, the neuromuscular system is able to recruit the correct muscles at the right time, with the appropriate amount of force, to perform functional tasks with the least amount of stress and energy.
This helps to prevent movement impairments, injuries and pain, and if you are an athlete, allows for optimum performance.
There are two primary types of misalignments:
Static misalignments may alter normal soft tissue length-tension relationships. Examples include joint hypomobility and myofascial trigger points (adhesions) that lead to or can be caused by poor static posture.
Once a joint has lost its normal biomechanics, the muscles that surround that joint may spasm and tighten in an attempt to minimize stress at the involved segment.
This can lead to altered muscle recruitment and faulty movement patterns in an attempt to prevent movement and further injury.
This process initiates the cumulative injury cycle, which perpetuates the dysfunction.
Dynamic misalignments are caused by static misalignments.
1. Upper Crossed Syndrome
2. Lower Crossed Syndrome
3. Lower extremity postural distortion
In these misalignments, There is a chain reaction that evolves in which some muscles shorten and others weaken, in predictable patterns of imbalance.
The Upper Crossed Syndrome is characterized by: Rounded shoulders and a forward head posture. This pattern is common in individuals who sit a lot or who develop pattern overload from uni-dimensional exercise. Common injuries include: Neck pain, headaches, rotator cuff impingement, shoulder instability, biceps tendinitis, and thoracic outlet syndrome.
The Lower Crossed Syndrome is characterized by: Increased lumbar lordosis and an anterior pelvic tilt. Common injuries include: Hamstring strains, anterior knee pain, low back pain and hip pain.
The Lower extremity postural distortion is characterized by: Excessive foot pronation, genu valgus (knees caving in) and poor ankle flexibility. Common Injury Patterns include: Plantar fasciitis, foot pain, shin splints, anterior knee pain and low back pain.
How do you know if you are out of alignment?
Many people, at times, feel like they are “out of alignment” and seek chiropractic care.
As you can see from the definitions of static and dynamic misalignments, the solution is often more involved than a 5 minute (or less) visit that involves an adjustment, or joint mobilization.
A thorough assessment of alignment should include:
1. A movement screen that evaluates the major Kinetic Chain checkpoints (Foot and ankle, knee, lumbo-pelvic-hip complex, shoulder and cervical spine)
2. Motion palpation of the joints and spinal segments
3. Range of motion testing to evaluate over active muscles
4. Manual muscle testing to evaluate under active muscles
A comprehensive alignment should include addressing:
1. Soft tissue relationships (over and under active muscles) with manual lengthening and strengthening techniques
2. Joint dysfunction with mobilization or manipulation
3. Faulty movement patterns with corrective exercise
The foot bone’s connected to the neck bone
Each joint can influence the joints above below and as such, misalignment at one part of the Kinetic Chain should not be viewed in isolation, but in relation to the entire neuromusculoskeletal system.