Improving Posture: A Oklahoma City, OK and Surrounding Areas Chiropractor’s Perspective
As a chiropractor for 22 years, Dr. Alvin Philipose has a mission to help people live the healthiest lives they can live. To live a healthy life, it is essential to have a healthy nervous system, the master system of the human body that controls all other bodily functions. The only way that the nervous system can function at its truly optimal level is to be free of stress, and this can only be achieved through healthy alignment, posture, and movement of the spine. Posture is the “window” to the spine, meaning you can tell how healthy someone’s spine is just by looking at their posture. When the spine is in good posture, the spinal cord and attached nerves are completely relaxed and can have clear communication to the brain and out to the rest of the body. This allows for an optimally healthy life.
So what does good posture look like? When you look at the human body from the side, there should be a straight line that extends from the ankle up through the knee, the hip, the shoulder, and the ear. This ensures a balanced center of gravity and allows for the least amount of stress applied to the spine. The curves of the spine are designed to absorb pressure from the weight of the head plus the force of gravity, so it is vital that the head is directly over the shoulders. The hips being directly below the shoulders ensures that the core and gluteal muscles are engaged and not turned off, which causes the pelvis to drift forward. When you look at posture from the front, you want to see balance from left to right in the pelvis, chest, shoulders, and head. Any left or right deviation can cause unequal stress to the spine, which can contribute to both spinal misalignment and poor muscle balance.
The benefits of good posture are countless. Improving your posture can lead to decreased pain in the hips, lower back, middle back, upper back, and neck, fewer headaches, and countless other health benefits as well. It is important to understand that as we age, we are heading in one of two possible directions. If we carry poor posture into our later years, it can lead to a loss of independence at an earlier age due to poor biomechanics and weakened nervous system. If we carry good posture into our later years, however, it can prolong our independence and help us maintain a higher quality of life and health. At Venturis Clinic, one of our core values is to help as many of our patients as possible live their lives in the latter scenario.
How We Improve Posture in Oklahoma City, OK and Surrounding Areas
Comprehensive Consult and Exam
As a new patient, your journey at Venturis Clinic will begin with a detailed first visit that includes a consultation and examination. Dr. Alvin Philipose will sit down with you and discuss your problems and how they are affecting your life. They will also discuss what your goals are – improving posture happens to be a goal for many of our new patients. This consultation helps Dr. Philipose to get to know you personally and understand you on a level that allows them to provide the most accurate recommendations for your care.
After the consultation, they will do a thorough examination including orthopedic, neurologic, and functional movement testing. They will also perform a posture scan, which they will review with you at your follow-up appointment. If the posture scan indicates that you have poor posture, then posture correction will likely feature in your recommendations for care. It is simply too important a piece of the puzzle to set to the side and not address.
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Specific Chiropractic Care in Oklahoma City, OK
Chiropractic care is the focal point of your care at Venturis Clinic. Working towards better spinal alignment is always the number one goal for improving the lives of our patients. It is simply not possible to have good posture while having a spine full of subluxations, or misalignments in the spine. They create imbalance throughout the spine, muscles, and joints. When the spine is restored to proper alignment, the nervous system can heal and become more balanced, and this can help achieve better balance in the muscles surrounding the spine.
Chiropractic care is a lot like working out – you cannot expect to get immediate results from one or two visits. It takes time and consistency with visits to overcome months or years of bad postural habits, but the body will adapt over time. The body is smart and knows that if given the right care and attention it can truly thrive, which can drastically improve your quality of life and health.
Custom Stretching Plan
Other than chiropractic, corrective stretching is the cornerstone to achieving better posture. Remember, muscle imbalance from the way we sit, stand, and move is what drives poor postural habits over time. Teaching these muscles to work in a more balanced way is what helps posture improve over time. However, it HAS to be done consistently.
The body is willing to adapt if regularly exposed to the change you wish to create. If you are not consistent in your approach, it will slow down or stop your progress altogether. When working to change posture, not only are you removing poor postural habits, but you are also working to create new, proper postural habits. When your body recognizes good posture as normal, it will always want to return to that if it ever strays.
If poor posture is something you have been dealing with for years or even decades, there is a good chance that there may be some amount of compression on your spine. For example, forward head posture is a common postural problem where the head is in front of the shoulders. This causes the natural curve of the spine to flatten out or even reverse, which puts a lot of compressive force on the joints in the neck. Over time, this can cause pain and dysfunction that can affect your quality of life.
The treatment we use in the office to overcome this is called spinal decompression. Performed on either the neck or lower back, spinal decompression gently stretches the area by pulling the spine opening up the joints, discs, and nerve spaces to give them more room to function. When combined with chiropractic care and stretching, decompression can help reverse negative posture changes and help lay down a strong foundation for good posture going forward.
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Common Causes of Poor Posture in Oklahoma City, OK
Perhaps the most common cause of poor posture in the last 10-20 years, Tech Neck has emerged as a massive problem for people. Due to the rapid advancement of technology such as computers, tablets, and smartphones, we are looking down more now than perhaps at any other time in human history. The consequence of this is more and more cases of neck pain, upper back pain, and headaches. Most alarmingly, we are seeing this in younger and younger patients, as kids are utilizing technology from very early ages. Postural intervention along with ergonomic education is essential in combating this rapidly growing condition. The earlier you can instill good postural habits for either yourself or your loved ones, the less likely it is they will experience issues further down the road.
Today, a huge population of people spend 8-10 hours at their desks for 40+ hours per week. While it is something that most people cannot avoid as it is their livelihood, sitting is one of the worst things we can do as human beings. When we sit, a large number of our key muscles are turned off because there is no need for them to be active. As this is done more and more often, such as in the context of a workweek, these muscles get weaker and weaker over time leading to muscle imbalance and postural issues. Standing desks are a great way to counter some of this, as standing requires the use of muscles to stabilize the body for long work hours. It is also important to have an ergonomic workstation to allow for as good of posture as possible. For example, raising your monitor height can reduce the amount of looking down you do at your screen.
Everybody experiences stress to some degree. Whether it is due to work, family, finances, or some combination of the many stressors in life, stress is an active disrupter in our day-to-day routine. What many people don’t know, however, is that stress can manifest itself in physical ways. One common way this occurs is with increased heart rate. Perhaps the most common way, though, is increased muscle tension. It can lead to things like tension headaches, neck and upper back pain, and shoulder pain. This tightness that tends to sit here is further fed by poor posture, as increased muscle tension can occur due to poor head position or poor muscle balance. If you want to address your posture properly, stress management is one of the long-term solutions for maintaining a healthy posture.
A more complex barrier to achieving better posture is those who have been diagnosed with scoliosis. Scoliosis is a condition that usually starts early in life and is identified by abnormal side-to-side curvatures in the spine. With such curvatures in the spine present, it is normal for a person’s posture to be distorted in ways such as one shoulder being higher than the other. In skeletally mature adults, these curvatures can’t be fully changed, but that does not mean they can’t benefit from chiropractic intervention and postural exercises. These therapies can help anyone improve their spinal mobility and function.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a chiropractor in Oklahoma City, OK and Surrounding Areas help with posture?
Yes, At Venturis Clinic, Dr. Alvin Philipose along with his team, are experts at retraining people’s postures the natural way: through corrective chiropractic care and exercise. Posture tends to be at the root of a lot of people’s aches and pains, so if you are experiencing neck pain, back pain, or headaches, there is a good chance a postural issue could be present as well.
Can a chiropractor in Oklahoma City, OK and Surrounding Areas permanently fix posture?
Maintaining good posture, just like any health-promoting habit, requires consistency. Yes, a chiropractor can help you maintain good posture, but that is only one piece of the puzzle. Regular exercise is another piece of the puzzle. These things have to be done consistently or the body will not have the opportunity to adopt the new changes you are trying to instill.
How long does it take a chiropractor to fix poor posture?
Poor postural habits typically develop over a long period of time, so it should be expected that changing these habits and developing good posture will take time as well. However, if you are consistent with it, change can and will happen over time. Your body will respond to whatever it is given, both good and bad. So if you consistently teach your body to be in good posture, eventually it will adopt good posture as your default.
Can chiropractors fix a hunchback?
Things like chiropractic, decompression, and stretching can help reduce a hunched back. It is a postural distortion that occurs over a long period of time in response to increased stress, especially from forward head posture. As the head drifts further forward, the body balances this by pushing the upper back area backward into the “hunched” shape.
What muscles are best for posture?
As far as strengthening weak muscles to improve posture, your back muscles like the trapezius, latissimus dorsi, rhomboids play a significant role in improving posture and stability in the spine. You also want to be aware of anterior muscles such as the pectoral muscles, which contribute to poor posture by being chronically tight and pulling the shoulders forward. These muscles should be stretched though, not strengthened, to improve posture.