Take a moment to think about your typical day. How many hours do you spend behind your desk? How many are you driving? How about on your phone, computer, or reading in bed? For a lot of us in Western societies, just those few activities fill up a majority of our hours. As our society has developed, we’ve created patterns of behavior to cope, but what effect has that had on our bodies?
In terms of posture, you are what you do. Your patterns of physical behavior and the physical positions you spend time in have a direct role in the development of your body. Without getting too far into the neurophysiology of it, muscles that spend a lot of time in a shortened position tend adopt that as their natural position. As a result, a typical American develops certain postural distortions over the course of their lifetime. Two of the most common of these distortions are:
Upper Crossed Syndrome: Characterized by internal (forward) rotation of the shoulders, rounding of the back, elevated shoulders, and forward position of the head. Tight chest muscles and a weak upper back cause a visible sort of slouched posture. Upper Crossed tends to appear in individuals who spend much of their time typing on computers, using phones, driving, or reading in bed – all activities wherein the upper body is curled in, the arms are forward, and the chin is tucked toward the chest.
Lower Crossed Syndrome: Characterized by a forward tilt of the pelvis, rounding of the low back, and the buttocks jutting back. Individuals with this syndrome may feel exceptionally tight in the front of the hips and upper thighs, and often suffer from low back pain. Lower Crossed is primarily the result of spending hours in a flexed-hip position, as when sitting.
80% of Americans will experience some form of low back pain during their lifetime. Bad posture is also a big contributor to joint pain, injuries, and decreased physical fitness. Paying attention to your posture, limiting and breaking up the time you spend in positions that promote bad posture, and incorporating some form of natural movement and exercise into your daily life will help to keep you safe and healthy for many, many years to come.
To find out more about how you can fight the debilitating effects of bad posture, schedule a complimentary consultation with us today!