Do You Have Good Posture?

Many patients often ask me if they have good posture. There is an ideal posture but because each body type is different, good posture for each person will be different.The first step to good posture is taking the effort to improve your body alignment.

To check your posture, doctors of chiropractic use postural analysis. You can have a friend or relative do a simplified postural check to see how well your body is aligned. Remove any bulky clothing as well as your shoes. Stand comfortably, with your arms hanging at your sides, and look straight ahead.

From behind a person, you’ll  want to see if the head is tilted. Are the shoulders even? Are the hips even? Perhaps one foot is turned outward more than the other. For a closer look, check to see if the spine is straight up and down. Or is the spine curved to the side? Pay attention to whether or not the shoulders are rolled forward.

Now, check the posture from the side. Pretend that a line is dropped from the ceiling. This imaginary line should ideally pass through the ear, shoulder, the hip, just behind the knee, and just in front of the ankle. Most importantly, is the head poking forward? Is the pelvis tilted forward, with an exaggerated low back curve and protruding belly? Is the whole body leaning forward?

This quick check can give you a better idea of how good your posture is. Typically, chiropractors often discover and confirm certain health problems by observing a characteristic posture. Not all cases of poor posture are from laziness as many patients think. A sideways shift from a scoliosis or spinal curvature or a rounded back posture from osteoporosis may be just a few of the possible health problems that keep you from having a straight ideal posture.

Your doctor will use information from a postural analysis when he/she develops a treatment plan for you. But, you may ask, what can you do yourself to maintain the best possible posture?

For the typical person, here are a few tips.

When standing, tuck in your buttocks and pull in your stomach. Let your hips rest directly over your feet. Your palms face forward. As a natural reaction, your shoulders will be pulled backwards. This action will help you to avoid becoming round shouldered. Finally, think of your head as sitting on top of your neck, like a lollipop. In other words, you may need to tuck in your chin. Now, hold this posture and try to relax.

These postural tips followed in conjunction with your chiropractic treatments can help to improve your body alignment. Often after a treatment, a patient tells me that he/she feels straighter, less tense, and more relaxed. What a great way to feel!