World Spine Day
November 14, 2009
Posture: More Than Meets the Eye.
Clinicians and researchers throughout history have placed posture at the very foundation of physical health. From the ancient world, Hippocrates (440 – 377BC) saw the spine as central to the treatment of ill health and reputedly used spinal manipulation to correct dysfunctions in the body.
Roger A Sperry Ph.D (Nobel Prize winner in Physiology or Medicine 1981) has been quoted as saying – “the more mechanically distorted a person is, the less energy there is available for healing, metabolism and thought”. Posture is profoundly important to our overall health and affects our physiology and function but despite compelling evidence, it is often not addressed by most current day physicians.
The human head weighs between eight and ten pounds and represents approximately 8% of the total body mass. In a neutral (perfectly balanced) position the head feels as if it weighs nothing, however for every one inch the head moves forward away from the neutral balance posture, the head feels as if it’s weight has doubled. This is due to the effects of gravity and the stress placed on the neck muscles and cervical spine.
Due to the increasing use of computers and hand held technology, Chiropractors are seeing an increasing number of people with Forward Head Posture, and alarmingly the trend is especially apparent in children. The current generations’ fascination with all things technical has taken children from the playground to the computer desk with detrimental effect.
Posture influences many body functions. “Spinal pain, headache, mood, blood pressure, pulse, and lung capacity are among the functions most easily influenced by posture.” As the head moves forward all measures of health status are significantly reduced. Rene Cailliet, Director of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Southern California, concluded that forward head posture can add up to thirty (30) pounds of abnormal leverage on the spine, reduce lung capacity by as much as 30%, which can lead to heart and blood vascular disease. He determined a relationship between forward head posture and the digestive system as well as endorphin production affecting pain and the experience of pain.
During this period of extra awareness of World Spine Day you are encouraged to have your posture checked. This is especially important for children – “as the twig is bent, so grows the tree”.
Your comments are invited on this blog post. Thankyou.