Mind & Body
Straight Talk about Posture
7/1/2020 1:00:00 PM

Remember when your mother told you to stand up straight? She was right. Your posture – good or bad – has a big impact on your life, affecting your health, your mood and how people perceive you. 

Dr. Joseph Kulaga, co-founder of Lake Charles Chiropractic and Functional Medicine, says it’s easier to work on maintaining your posture once you have a better understanding of what "good posture” means, exactly. "Posture is the position in which we hold our bodies while standing, sitting or lying down. Good posture is the correct alignment of body parts supported by the right amount of muscle tension against gravity. If you don’t maintain a healthy posture and the muscles that control it, your body is more susceptible to injury and degeneration.”

Normally, we do not consciously maintain normal posture. Instead, certain muscles do it for us, and we don’t even have to think about it. But when these muscle groups aren’t functioning properly, problems can develop. "The effects of poor posture are many, and it has the potential to be quite serious, ranging from headaches, shoulder, neck and back pain to muscle strain, decreased mobility and even injury,” explains Dr. Kulaga. 

Multiple factors contribute to poor posture--most commonly, stress, obesity, pregnancy, weak postural muscles, abnormally tight muscles, work conditions, incorrect working posture, unhealthy sitting and standing habits, and frequent wearing of high heeled shoes. Your posture may be affected by an injury, and some aspects of poor posture may even be genetic. 

You may be wondering at this point if you have a posture problem. Dr. Kulaga says there are many signs to look for, including hunched or rounded shoulders, rounded upper back, forward head position, arched lower back, and neck and back pain. 

The good news is you can improve your posture, regardless of your age. "Long-standing postural problems may take longer to address, but you can achieve improvement,” says Dr. Kulaga. "Awareness is the first step. Pay attention to your posture as you sit, stand or lie down.”

Sitting: Don’t cross your legs. Keep both feet on the floor or a footrest. Your back should be supported. If your back is not touching the back of the chair while you sit, add low back support. 

Standing: Keep your knees slightly bent, relax your arms and pull your shoulders back. 

Lying: Choose a good quality mattress and pillow that provide support. Avoid sleeping on your stomach. When sleeping on your side, put a pillow between your legs. 

Chiropractic care can also help individuals regain a healthy posture. "People often come in because of pain in a specific area, and in many cases, after we evaluate them, we are able to determine the underlying cause is poor posture – which is not a bad thing because we have a variety of treatment options to correct this problem,” says Dr. Kulaga. 

In addition to in-office treatments, he says stretching and strengthening exercises, particularly for the neck, back and core muscles, may be prescribed. "We’ll also discuss the individual’s lifestyle and factors that may be contributing to their posture problem, such as sleep positions, work area set-up, stress, lack of exercise and diet changes, and make recommendations for needed modifications.” 

Dr. Kulaga says improvements are often experienced after just a few sessions. "Once your body is in alignment and your posture is improved, you will feel more energetic, healthier, and happier. Your body is an intricate machine and when one part isn’t functioning as it should, it affects all the other parts.”

For more information about treatment for posture problems, call Dr. Kulaga at Lake Charles Chiropractic and Functional Medicine at (337) 240-6619 or visit www.lakecharleschiro.com.

Posted by: Kristy Armand | Submit comment | Tell a friend

Categories: Health

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