“Sit up straight!”
How many of us begrudgingly listened to our mom tell us this like a broken record? How many more realized she was actually onto something?
Correct posture has some of the biggest effects on our health because it is directly related to every hysiological function within the body from breathing to hormonal production — and this is because it is the structure that protects the nervous system — the “master control system” of the body.
The nerve system is what determines every single thing your body does, because your brain controls your body, and it talks to it through the nervous system. This makes sense why Dr. Hans Selye postulated then that “the beginning of disease process begins with postural distortions” — if your spine is not safely housing your nervous system, your nervous system could not be functioning 100 percent.
We see this in our workforce where it’s been estimated that on the job pain (including back pain, headaches, arthritis) costs employers nearly $47 billion a year in productivity loss.
This doesn’t even begin to cover the total annual cost of health care due to pain — this ranges from $560 billion to $635 billion (in 2011), in the U.S. alone! This total includes the medical costs for pain care and the economic costs related to disability days, lost wages, and productivity.
The good news is, with growing awareness of this problem and its effects, more education has developed that is easily accessible. Correct ergonomic and safety analysis classes can be scheduled for your workplace, and advocates that teach these classes have incorporated how moving is healthy for the spine.
Some tips to jumpstart your correct posture include sitting up straight and keeping your screen at eye level so your head is right on top of your spine. Did you know that as your head posture moves forward you begin to put more pressure on the spine — it could be up to 30 pounds extra, in fact!
Another tip is to set up a standing desk; however, if that is not feasible, getting up and moving every hour is recommended.
Lastly, check to make sure your spine is correctly protecting your nervous system so you can don’t become another statistic.
Dr. Kaci Manion is a specialist with The Specific Chiropractic Center of Kauai and loves working to help families achieve a higher level of health and an understanding of the health opportunities provided to them. You can find her within the community with her service through the Lion’s club and she frequently volunteers with kid’s events all over the island.