Your Posture is the Window to Your Spine

Kirkland Chiropractor & Bellevue Personal Trainer Educate About Posture

The Importance of Posture

We have all heard it before, “Sit up straight! Don’t slouch!” If you’re like most people goodposture can slip out of your daily habits. From time to time we may remember to sit tall while at thedesk or to not slouch while waiting in line, but the reality is that we forget about good posture. Itseems like by the time we remember our lower backs are already aching or we have neck pain. In thisarticle, Dr. Ben Baker and I will discuss how small adjustments during your day will lead to improvedposture alignment. We will discuss the importance of good alignment and exercises you can do toimprove your posture imbalances.

Posture consciousness is a fun way to give thought to your body alignment. When I work withmy clients I always start by explaining body alignment and I start with the core. The core of the bodyhas three pillars. Pillar one is the shoulders, pillar two is the mid-section wrapping all the way aroundfrom front to back, and the third pillar is the hips. Aligning your three pillars will ensure proper postureand prevent injury during exercise. When I instruct my clients to engage their core they know to engagethe three pillars by; (1) pulling their shoulders back in line with their hips, (2) pulling the core in tight-even below the belly button (3) lining up their hips with the shoulders. Hearing the verbal queue of “3pillars” is a quick and easy way to assess posture and get in check.

It is critical to have good posture because it allows necessary air flow to circulate throughout thebody. This alone enhances energy levels by providing oxygen for cellular respiration. Proper posturealso decreases the risk of injury and improves self-confidence. How is your posture? Do you think aboutit during the work day? What about while you workout? If you rarely give thought to this topic then Isuggest making small reminders. Yellow sticky notes on an outlook agenda is a great way to setreminders. You want your eye to catch the reminder and then engage the three pillars quickly. Beforelong you will make it a daily habit. When making posture adjustments try talking yourself through theverbal core activation above using Pillars, 1, 2, and 3: Shoulders, Abs, and Hips. Say it in your head asyou activate and you will immediately improve posture. You will appear slimmer and have a strongercore which decreases your risk of back pain. It is a great trade-off for posture consciousness.

If you are experiencing current pain in the lower back, neck and shoulder areas due to posture Ialways recommend an evaluation from your practitioner. If you are interested in preventing orcorrecting back/neck pain or are interested in improving the strength and conditioning of your core,then check out the exercises below. You can perform these exercises as pre-hab, which is done at thebeginning of the exercise session.

What Katie said about posture is exactly right, remember when your grandmother told you to sitand stand with good posture or else you’d get stuck in a slouched position? Grandma was correct withher focus on good posture. As a chiropractor, I treat many people who have less than ideal alignmentand structure. The majority of their postural issues can be directly attributed to lack of focus on correctposture. What I routinely see is people with forward head posture and forward rolled shoulders. This isan easy condition to acquire because most people sit at computers, work at a desk or slouch for themajority of their work and school days.

Having key muscle imbalances will cause a person with poor posture to not be able to “fix” theirown malformations because their spine and joints get stuck in positions which are not natural. When aperson has weak, underactive muscles coupled with tight and overactive muscles you have a recipe forstructural disaster. When one has postural imbalances with inappropriate muscle firing patterns aperson will not be able to “sit up straight” no matter how hard they try. For example, a personsuffering from forward head posture and loss of cervical spine lordosis will feel tension in their posteriorneck muscles if they try and hold their neck in the correct postural position. This is not a sustainablething to do as it’s not comfortable and the muscles will eventually fatigue in the neck region.

This is where Chiropractic and Physical Training are essential. The objective of a savvy personaltrainer and chiropractor is to help our patients’ correct postural imbalances through realigning thespinal joints and by retraining the muscles, tendons and ligaments to support the spine in the correctways.
The importance of having good posture is often underestimated. When one has chronically badposture for a sustained period of time, the muscles become fibrotic and weak. This leads to a spinewhich degenerates much quicker than it was designed to. These are things nobody needs to experiencein life. Below are some key exercises that will help retrain ones posture.

External Rotation: Choose light weight and keep the elbows tuckedin in an L shape. Rotate forearms laterally until you hit resistance.Keep elbow tight against the body throughout the movement.
Sets: 3-4 Reps: 10

Rotator Cuff, Anterior and Medial Deltoids (delts),Posterior Deltoids (delts), Serratus Anterior, TeresMinor
Rest: 30 sec.

Snow Angles: Standing against a wall make a W with your arms. Be sureto have your writs outside of the elbows. Move arms up to touch over thehead and back down to a W position. Add light weight if needed.

Rotator Cuff, Anterior and Medial Deltoids (delts), PosteriorDeltoids (delts), Serratus Anterior, Transverse Abdominus,Teres Minor
Sets: 3-4 Reps: 10
Rest: 30 sec.

Supine W’s: Lay in a supine (face down) position put yourarms in a W position. Lift your upper body up keeping yourhead in line with the spine. Try not to clench your glutemuscles (butt) when you come up.
PrimaryMuscles: Posterior Deltoids, Serratua Anterior, ThoractorLumbar, Latisimus Dorsi
Sets: 3-4 Reps: 10-15
Rest: 40 sec.

Scapula Retraction: This is a protraction exercise which meansthe shoulder blades move away from the midline of the body.Keep arms straight and elbows firm and protract blades uptowards the celing and then back to a neutral spine position.
PrimaryMuscles: Trapezius, Rhomboids, Sub Scapula, Latimus Dorsi
Sets: 3-4 Reps: 10
Rest: 30 sec.

Pec Stretch: Line your shoulder up with stability ball or windowseal in an L shape. Keep your elbow in line with your shoulder.Fall into the stretch and hold where you feel resistance.
PrimaryMuscles: Pectoralis Major, Sternocostal Pectoralis, AnteriorBecome posture conscious throughout your day by implementing these reminders. Start yourDeltoid
Sets: 3 Hold for 10-20 sec.
Rest: 30 sec.

Posture exercise sessions with pre-hab movements so that you can correct posture imbalances and/or preventthem in the future. Stand tall and keep moving. Remember, you are the in control of how you age andit’s up to you to take ownership of your health. We are here to help, feel free to contact us to learn howwe can be a part of your postural success.

About the authors;
Katie Wygant, Owner Sound Body Fitness and the Get Lean Now program
NSCA- CSCA, ACSM- CPT, Precision Nutrition Expert
Visit her website & blog:,\blog
Dr. Benjamin Baker, Owner of PrimeSpine Chiropractic Center of Kirkland
Phone Number: 425-825-8750

Chiropractic & Posture Link Explained

Posture correction from your Bellevue and Kirkland health care professionals

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