by: Dr. David Jockers
Bad posture is a modern day health epidemic that is much worse than most people
naturally assume. Posture is the window into your spine. The spine has a
powerful relationship with the brain, spinal cord, and overall organ function.
This intimate connection means that poor posture and spinal health will lead to
an overall decrease in brain and organ function.Nobel Prize recipient Dr. Roger Sperry says that
the spine is the motor that drives the brain. According to his research
"90% of the stimulation and nutrition to the brain is generated by the
movement of the spine." Only 10% of our brain's energy goes into thinking,
metabolism, immunity, and healing. Sperry demonstrated that 90% of brain energy
goes into processing and maintaining the body's relationship with gravity.
One of the worst types of health problems people experience is a loss of the natural curves of their spine. Ideally, we should have a 40-45 degree curve in our neck that many chiropractors and neurosurgeons refer to as "the arc of life." This curve helps to protect the brain stem and the spinal canal for the spinal cord and nerves that travel to every region of our body.
Subluxation is the term for misalignments of the spine that cause compression and irritation of nerve pathways affecting organ systems of the body. Subluxations can manifest as pain, but since only a small portion of spinal nerves transmit pain sensations they are often unnoticeable by the individual. Losing the arc of life in the neck, forward head posture, and scoliosis are three of the most dangerous forms of subluxation.
Subluxation patterns such as forward head posture and loss of the neck curve are most often created by trauma and/or poor posture. Examples of trauma include the birth process (especially with forceps delivery), falls, car accidents, & sporting activities. The typical individual in our society today spends at least 3-4 hours a day slumped in front of a television, computer, and texting cell phone. These behaviors cause the head to shift forward and create a lasting posture pattern called forward head posture.
This 'forward head posture' can add up to 30 pounds of abnormal leverage pulling the entire spine out of alignment and may result in the loss of 30% of vital lung capacity," says University of California's director of physical medicine and rehabilitation, Rene Cailliet.
As forward head posture decreases lung capacity it affects the body from effectively oxygenating cells. This can lead to asthmatic conditions, blood vessel problems and heart disease. The oxygen deficit affects the entire gastrointestinal system leading to altered nutrient absorption and peristaltic activity. Lowered oxygen states also decrease endorphin production turning the perception of non-painful sensation into pain experiences.
Some chiropractors specialize in corrective care techniques that reduce or eliminate forward head posture and restore the natural curves of the body. This is done through gentle & specific adjustments that take pressure off of the brain stem and nerve pathways and enhance function to the body. Corrective rehabilitative exercises are prescribed to address postural abnormalities and create lasting objective postural and x-ray changes. Specialized chiropractors are able to demonstrate these changes to the individual with pre-post x-rays, nerve scans, postural pictures and other technology.
Studies have shown that corrective based chiropractic care effectively reduces forward head posture and enhances the arc of life. A 2009 study by Morningstar and Jockers showed that this corrective process dramatically enhanced lung function. As the respiration process improves more oxygen gets into the body. This improves blood flow into every organ system of the body dramatically improving overall function.
Improvement in Forward Head Posture, Cervical Lordosis, and Pulmonary Function with Chiropractic Care, Anterior Head Weighting and Whole Body Vibration: A Retrospective Study-Mark Morningstar DC, DAASP, FRCCM, FAAIM 1, David Jockers DC, MS, CSCS2J. Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health - October 12, 2009