One of the keys to maintaining spinal (and in effect, general) health is the way that we hold our ourselves for long periods of time. Posture is the name of the game. Our posture and how we stand changes how our muscles accommodate our weight and how weight and stress is distributed throughout our spine. If weight is distributed incorrectly over a long period of time through regular poor posture, it can lead to serious repercussions. Even those of us with decent posture might need to check in from time to time. Correct posture supports the natural curves of our spine and avoids excessive weight and mis-alignments to keep our spine in its proper shape, keeps our postural muscles correctly active, and our inner organs well connected and supported.
Try this: Stand with your back against a wall.
Your tailbone, shoulders, and head should be touching the wall.
Place your palm on the wall behind the small of your back, and adjust until there is about a hand’s width of space between the wall and the small of your back.
The spine naturally has a curve inward towards your naval at the lumbar region, a curve out towards the wall for the thoracic spine, and a curve in again at the neck.
Your shoulder blades should be tucked back and down, the flat part of them touching the wall as much as possible.
Your hands should rest parallel to your side body, thumbs forward and pinkies back—your palms should not be facing the front of your thighs, but rather the sides of them.
Tuck your head back as if you’re trying to touch your chin to your neck, without straining.
Hold this posture, and walk away from the wall, doing your best to maintain this shape.
Tuck your tail bone in and down towards the floor.
This might be a new shape for many of us, or one different than our natural posture. Take some time every hour to check in on your posture, standing against a flat wall if you need a reminder. When you’re in line at the grocery store, standing making dinner, or even sitting at your desk, check-in.
The three main things:
1. Tuck your shoulder blades into your back pockets
2. Tuck your chin into your neck
3. Tuck your tailbone towards the floor (if you’re standing).
It might take time for this to feel natural, for your body to learn this shape, but your back and neck and body will thank you for it! This shape allows the spine to stay in alignment and have the best flow for your nervous system. It might even relieve some pain as you take pressure and distribute weight more effectively across your system. For more tips, such as good driving, sitting, or sleeping posture ask your Chiropractic doctor!