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The Importance of Proper Posture

We’re all guilty of it – falling asleep on the couch, texting with our head bent down, slouching in our desk chair and even lifting weights incorrectly. These are all common ways poor posture comes into play in our daily lives, and it’s something that should not be ignored.

If you don’t take steps to correct poor posture, it can eventually lead to decreased mobility, muscle tension, chronic pain and a whole host of symptoms that can decrease your quality of life.

“When you’re young – in your teens and 20s – your body can compensate quickly to changes in your spinal alignment to prevent aches and pains from developing,” said Dr. Timothy Strittmatter, National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA) Chiropractor at Keystone Spinal Care in Greensburg, PA. “Many people go for years without realizing they have a problem; however, as we age, our bodies will be unable to compensate for a misaligned spine, leading to chronic and sometimes debilitating pain and dysfunction.”

It isn’t until they start feeling persistent pain that they realize something is significantly wrong and needs to be addressed. Many people will visit doctor after doctor, trying to figure out what is causing their symptoms. Often, their symptoms stem from spinal misalignments creating irritation to nerve tissues.

According to Strittmatter, when your spine is out of alignment, your muscles often tighten, causing a decrease in joint range of motion, which can lead to pain and injury. Depending on the person and severity of spinal misalignment, symptoms may include:

• Migraines and/or headaches
• Neck, back and shoulder pain
• Hip, knee, leg and even foot pain
• Asthma
• Nerve pain
• Increased blood pressure
• Reduced circulation
• Slowed brain function
• Poor digestion

“A misaligned car causes excess wear and tear on its tires, affecting the performance of the entire car and making it less energy efficient,” Strittmatter said. “In the same respect, a misaligned spine causes excess wear and tear on all joints of the body, leading to pain and degeneration. It is much less expensive and eliminates much suffering to stay well aligned throughout the course of your life.”  

Spinal misalignments, slumping or slouching posture can decrease your respiratory capacity by 10-30 percent, increasing the demand for oxygen and resulting in a greater demand on the heart, according to Strittmatter. The increased demand on the heart can raise blood pressure and increase pulse rate leading to the development of cardiovascular disease.

Relieving spinal misalignments through NUCCA treatments helps to free up areas of tension throughout the body, reduces pain and improves mobility. NUCCA is a procedure that involves a gentle touch and controlled contact on the first vertebrae in the neck known as the C-1 vertebrae or Atlas. According to Strittmatter, through precise mathematical calculations, physics and biomechanics, minute spinal corrections are made.

These corrections affect the nerves in the body that regulate and control all vital functions including circulation, breathing, digestion, reproduction, and muscle movement. Many of the aches, pains, and dysfunctions that people live with every day can be reduced or eliminated through this procedure.

“Each health care professional a person sees throughout their lifetime plays an integral role in maintaining and optimizing health and wellness,” Strittmatter said. “A NUCCA chiropractor, your medical doctor, massage therapist, nutritionist, and others are important pieces to your overall health puzzle.”

Consciously making an effort to adjust your posture throughout the day and scheduling regular NUCCA adjustments at the onset of pain or discomfort can help to maintain joint and spine health and eliminate further injury. Even the simplest of changes like sitting up straight in your chair, paying attention to neck positions when texting and wearing back safety belts while lifting heavy objects can have a big impact on your health and wellbeing.