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Posture: What is it, and what really affects it?

Posture. It’s something our mothers ragged on us about from the time we were small children. How many of your moms told you, “If you don’t stop slouching you’ll grow up to be a hunchback”? Being told continuously we need sit up straight, or to stop hunching our shoulders, seems to almost be a right of passage from childhood to adulthood.

So is there really something to this whole posture thing? Is it really that bad for you? Or is somewhat of an old wives’ tale?

posture analysis

What is Posture?

Posture is defined as: the position of the body or the position of several parts of the body with respect to each other for a particular purpose. Posture is not, regardless of what we have been led to believe, simply a matter of sitting or standing up straight. Instead, it is the actual and proper alignment of the parts of the body in relation to the spine, and the proper use of the body at all times.

 

 While slouching over at your computer, or your kids being hunched over a tablet screen, is not doing either of you any favors, it is not the primary contributor to your posture. Rather, ensuring your body is in correct alignment is the essential factor to this. At 1st Step Family Wellness,  in Kirkwood, we try to drill this education point in. Sitting up straight is not going to correct your posture. Remembering to get routine chiropractic care to ensure your body is in proper alignment will!

 

Posture and Your Little Tikes

 It’s often oversighted that even very young children can have misalignment issues. It is believed that as soon as a child is weight bearing, that improper posture can be detected, and show signs of misalignments.  You might be thinking, “Yeah, it’s not like we were in an accident, or like my kiddo is doing heavy lifting. There’s no way she has any misalignments. Her posture has to be fine.” While that seems like a logical assumption, it is an incorrect assumption.
 How many times did your little tike fall on her bottom abruptly, obviously jarring her body upon landing? How was your birth? Well, even if all went smoothly, just the natural process of childbirth can wreak havoc on a baby’s body. Think of how they are born! There is quite a bit of twisting and contorting just to make it into this world.

 

 Posture and Your Older Kiddos

This age group starts to endure more injuries, even if minor, due to their activities. If your child is active in sports it is anticipated these injuries, or minor traumas to the spine will occur. Accidentally colliding into another soccer player while running full gusto is not only going to sting a bit, but it is also going to cause some misalignments without a doubt!

  Although I mentioned above that slouching isn’t the main cause of poor posture, it certainly doesn’t help. This age group tends to have more than their fair share of screen time too. Inevitably, we naturally sit or lie in positions that aren’t conducive to posture. Children also tend to lie on their stomachs when using electronics as well; which can be bad for your spine.

To adjust to these habits, the body will typically begin to adapt to the improper alignment and cause postural deviations that you can see. These can include a tilting of the head, which may reflect a misalignment in the neck. A shoulder tilt might indicate a mid-back issue, and a tilted hip can mean a misalignment of the hip, sacrum or lower back. If a child’s foot is turned  out or in, this can indicate a problem in the pelvic area.

The scary part of this, is that often times these misalignments that form, do not cause pain. Not that we want them to be in pain, but because there is no pain it typically leads to problems compounding before any detection without regular chiropractic care.

 Pre-Teens, Teens, and Posture

The same issues that occur with your older children also occur in this age group. Except now, they have been continuing with bad habits and injuries for a few years, and  now the compounding effects can become visible to the eye. They may even cause pain at this point.

Often times, their backpacks have become the demise of their spine as well. Aside from the actual weight, they tend to wear their backpacks improperly; which only multiplies the harm being caused to their spines.

Be sure to listen to your pre-teens and teens closely about discomfort and know they could be developing a problem that will only become worse and cause more problems over time. Pain may appear in the form of headaches, shoulder tension, or menstruation issues in girls.

 Don’t Forget About You!

You think childhood issues have ventured into real-time problems for your teen? Just think about the compounding effect on you since childhood! Chances are you do feel at least occasional discomfort and shrug it off. However, your future (senior) self will thank you in multitude for correcting any deviations now. You don’t want to be the next, “Help I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” commercial, do you?!

  So how can you tell if you have spinal deviations?

Surprisingly, if you’re looking for the right clues, it is fairly evident. Here’s two easy tests to check out your status:

Test One-Four Steps to Performing a Postural Exam

Step one – look at bottom of ears; if one is higher than the other, this is head tilt and a sign of a possible neck misalignment.

  Step two – look at the shoulders; they should be level, if they are not, shoulder tilt is a sign of a possible mid-back issue.

Step three – place your hands on the wing bones or scapula; if one is moved toward you more than the other, this could be the sign of mid back issue.

Step four – place your hands on your child’s hips; if one hand is higher than the other, this is hip tilt and can be an indicator of a misalignment of the hip, sacrum or lower back.

Test Two-Side View Analysis

When looking at a side view there are two signs of possible postural deviations or spinal misalignments. The first sign is the earlobes; are they directly over the shoulder or slightly forward? The second sign of a potential problem are shoulders hunched or rolled forward. If you see either of these signs it is wise to contact your current chiropractor, or 1st Step Family Wellness  for an appointment.

Concerns about your kiddos or teens? We specialize in pediatric chiropractic!

 

 

 

 

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