Our modern world can be brutal on our bodies. Everything we do tends to force us to look down, slump our shoulders, and hold our arms out in front. Computers, phones, driving, and innumerable other tasks put us in this position. It makes it worse that many of us ignore Grandma’s advice to quit slouching. Almost everyone carries their head too far forward, their shoulders down, and their back arched. Deep down inside we all fear that we will end up with a hunchback that makes Quasimodo look normal.
What can be done? How can we fight against the ravages of life and gravity? One of the questions I get often is “should I buy a posture brace?”. These braces are designed to keep your shoulders back where they are supposed to go. That sounds all fine and dandy, until you take it off. Do you know what happens? You relax, and your shoulders go right back to where they were before. You haven’t taught yourself anything, except how to suffer through an uncomfortable brace.
The best way to correct posture and get rid of the unfortunate pains that come with it, is to strengthen your back. You can train your body to be good without you telling it to do so. I use an elastic tape, the same kind that athletes use, to help remind patients to maintain proper posture. It doesn’t force them back, but when they relax their shoulders it tugs enough to remind them to be better. That starts the process of strengthening the back muscles. That, coupled with some simple stretches and exercises, can train the body to stand how it was designed.
As you start to train your body, you might feel “stuck” or restricted when trying to stand up. That is likely due to the years of incorrect posture causing dysfunction in your spine. Chiropractic adjustments are valuable in increasing and maintaining proper movement in your back, further assisting you in your quest for the perfect posture.
Real improvement in life takes effort. There are few things that can be improved through passive activity. Great posture is something that can become natural, through a little self-awareness and discipline.