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We all know that we should maintain good posture throughout our lives, we remember our parents, grandparents and teachers telling us to stand and sit up straight. But why? How important is our posture for our overall health and wellbeing?

Firstly, what is posture?

Webster’s Medical Dictionary defines neutral posture as the stance that is attained “when the joints are not bent and the spine is aligned and not twisted. Ideal posture indicates proper alignment of the body so that the least amount of energy is required to maintain a desired position. The benefit of achieving this ideal posture is so that the least amount of stress is placed on the body’s tissues.
 (Danis, C. G.; Krebs, D. E.; Gill-Body, K. M.; Sahrmann, S. (1998), Relationship between standing posture and stability, Journal of the American Physical Therapy Association, pp. 502–517)

There are certain characteristics that make us human one of the most important things is our posture. Our genes are 99% identical to chimpanzees. One of the most prominent differences is our bi pedal up right posture.

What is an ideal human posture, and what does it look like?good posture

The body is designed to have the head, rib cage, and pelvis perfectly balanced upon one another in both the front and side views. If the posture is deviated from normal healthy position, then the spine is also deviated from the normal healthy position. The ankle, knee, hip, shoulder and ear should all be in a perfect line. When this is true it takes little effort to hold your self up in space and energy is utilized to move your body in space and not to fight against gravity.

Feeling tired? If you’re not maintaining good posture it’s no surprise.

Dr. Roger Sperry, Nobel Prize Recipient for Brain Research found that“90% of the stimulation and nutrition to the brain is generated by the movement of the spine”

The worst type of posture is a forward head posture FHP. To check for this, the ear should be in line with the shoulder when looking from the side. Even 1 cm forward can have serious impact on your health.

“For every inch of Forward Head Posture, it can increase the weight of the head on the spine by an additional 10 pounds (4.5 KILOS).”
(Kapandji, Physiology of Joints, Vol. 3)

What the latest research reveals..

– 2004 Landmark study revealed decreased life expectancy with increase in forward head posture.
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society Volume 52, Issue 10, pages 1662–1667, October 2004

Forward head posture– “Forward head carriage may promote accelerated aging of intervertebral joints resulting in degenerative joint disease.”
31st Annual International Conference of the IEEE EMBS Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, September 2-6, 2009.

– “FHP results in abnormal strain on muscles, ligaments, fascia and bones.”
American Journal of Pain Management, January 2008, 4:36-39

– FHP has been shown to decrease quality of life, health and increase in disability.
Spine 2009 Jul 1;34(15):E519-27

Most common cause of FHP

Subluxation in the neck or upper back are the most common causes of chronic FHP. This is where the small spinal bones move out of alignment due to trauma or postural stress over a long period of time from things like whiplash or excessive computer work.

Things you can do…

  • Avoid excessive computer work and Television
  • Take regular stretch breaks from working at computers or driving
  • Teach your children about good posture as early as possible
  • Practice yoga regularly
  • Have your spine checked by a wellness chiropractor for subluxation


Keep upright,

Dr. Trent


Dr. Trent Hedlam Paleo docDr. Trent is a Sports and wellness Chiropractor at LIFE CHIROPRACTIC OXENFORD. He is a dad, surfer, paleoer, crossfitter, Blogger, wellness speaker and Co-Founder of EPIC HEALTHSTYLE. He is a sought after speaker and has taught thousands of people in business’s, schools and community groups where health really comes from.

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