Could your posture be affecting your health and your mood?
As a Chiropractor I often give talks to groups on posture and health. There is a usually a shuffling of bottoms on seats as people become aware of their posture and attempt to correct it. Why? Whilst we all subconsciously know that posture is important, our increasingly sedentary lifestyles, use of modern computing technology including smart phones and tablets are taking a toll not only on posture but our long term health and well-being.
Posture and depression
There is currently an ongoing debate supporting the link between posture and depression. In the past year there has been a number of research articles linking posture with a range of emotions such as anger and sadness. Findings demonstrate that stooped posture, rounded or elevated shoulders, protrusion of the neck and hyper extension of the knees can lead to an increase in negative thoughts, the increased use of negative emotion words, lower self esteem and sadness. This research is consistent with the theories that posture plays a pivotal role in our emotive experiences. Our spines contain a larger number of emotional receptors than the brain or gut, so perhaps we should not be surprised.
In comparison, good posture is now being considered to reduce fatigue, decrease self focus in people with mild to moderate depression, reduce negative and increase positive mood especially in the face of stress. Thus, your posture can become a strategy for dealing with stress.
Many are unaware of their posture issues but you only have to walk down a typical street to encounter people are walking with heads tilted forward staring into their smart phone, individuals in a defensive posture with shoulder hunched up to the ears, those with neck pain / stiffness resulting in restrictions in their ability to turn their head or popping painkillers for headaches or back pain. Is this you?
As a chiropractor who measures posture as part of my analysis of overall health and wellbeing, I am passionate about posture. I hope reading this makes you to shuffle you bottom on your seat and become more aware of your posture?
Anne O’Donoghue DC MChiro
Optimal Health Chiropractic