Monday, March 22, 2010

sTand fOr sOmething>>>

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  1. Know what good posture is. Most people think that to "stand up straight" means tensing your back to heave your chest 'in and up', and pulling your head back in to your chest. This is not so. The spine has two natural curves that you need to maintain called the 'double C' or 'S' curves, these are the curves found from the base of your head to your shoulders and the curve from the upper back to the base of the spine. When standing straight up, make sure that your weight is evenly distributed on your feet. You might feel like you are leaning forward, and look stupid, but you don't. Using a mirror, align your ears, shoulders, and hips. Proper alignment places your ears loosely above your shoulders, above your hips. Again, these points make a straight line, but the spine itself curves in a slight 'S'. You'll find that this doesn't hurt at all. If you do experience pain, look at your side view in a mirror to see if you're forcing your back into an unnatural position. If so, stop it!

The foundation for good neck and back care starts with posture. Bad posture can be the cause of spinal pain, it can make existing pain worse, and it certainly can make the pain last a lot longer. Poor posture is also a factor in conditions such as chronic headaches, TMJ dysfunction and shoulder pain. Many people spend large portions of their day sitting or performing tasks that require bending forward or lifting. Think about your lifestyle, the postures you assume, and the activities you perform each day. The basis for good posture is maintaining a "neutral spine." A neutral spine retains three natural curves: a small hollow at the base of the neck, a small roundness at the middle back, and a small hollow in the low back. A neutral spine is neither rounded forward nor arched back too much. Maintaining a neutral spine is a dynamic process as you transition from one position to another. Let's look in detail at proper alignment in standing, from the bottom up: (Figure 1)

Figure 1: Left: Incorrect posture Right: Ideal Posture

1.) Feet should be shoulder width apart, thigh muscles elongated without locking the knees back.

2.) Maintain a small hollow in your low back, but avoid the tendency for too much arch/leaning back, especially with prolonged standing. The "tail" should remain slightly tucked down.

3.) Lift the breastbone. As you do this, the shoulder blades will move down in back. This should create a good distance from your hipbone to your rib cage.

4.) Make your chin level. The highest point of your body should be the top back region of your head. Relax your jaw and neck muscles. With the mouth closed, rest your tongue on the roof or your mouth.

In short, the key to good posture is awareness and perseverance. It is not easy to change poor postural habits, nor do the changes come quickly. However, if good posture is practiced, it becomes easier and you will find yourself preferring the "neutral alignment" to your previously poor position. In addition to feeling better, good posture also makes you look better. It is said that good posture can make you look 10 pounds lighter and 10 years younger! Give it a try. The benefits are well worth the effort.


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