Diagnosing Posutre Problems Can Lead To Improved Health 04/10/12

Recently a friend of mine experienced shooting pains and numbness in her left shoulder accompanied by severe headaches. A referral to a neurologist from her family doctor diagnosed that a posture problem and how she carried her purse was the culprit. Ever since then, I have been more conscious about how posture can affect your mental and physical well being.In my friend’s case, her bad posture was a result of carrying her purse on the same shoulder for years. Other reasons for bad posture include wearing book bags or carrying heavy items incorrectly.

POSITION OF SKELETON IN GOOD AND POOR POSTURE ...

POSITION OF SKELETON IN GOOD AND POOR POSTURE - NARA - 515194 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Another factor in her case was the way she held her head. Instead of tucking in her chin, it was jutted up and outward, putting pressure on the nearby nerves. After doing some research on the subject, I learned about other bad habits that result in bad posture such as slouching or leaning forward while sitting or walking instead of having a straight back. Sitting with feet crossed instead of flat on the floor also results in possible future health issues.I also discovered that slouching and having your shoulders slumped forward instead of being held back causes the stomach to stick out, hips to tilt forward, and the tailbone to tilt backward.

This incorrect body positioning leads to uneven pressure on various regions of the body which causes the person to overcompensate in another area.  This can result in pain and numbness in the head, neck, shoulders, and back.  The list goes on – a person’s ligaments, muscles, and joints can also be affected by bad posture. As you can see not being able to diagnose posture problems can lead to many health problems.

What to do next?

As my friend did, it is a good idea to consult a family doctor, chiropractor, physical therapist, or neurologist to diagnose posture problems. Family doctors are familiar with patients they have seen for years and can make determinations based on physical examinations. They can also order tests such as x-rays and MRI’s if necessary.

Chiropractors strive to relieve pain and pressure thereby improving function and effectiveness. Physical therapists diagnose and treat injuries and conditions that decrease mobility and affect daily tasks. Neurologists treat pain and other medical conditions involving the spinal cord, nerves, and muscles.

Each of these physicians determine posture problems by seeing how a person walks, sits, or stands. Further tests can be carried out in order to gain a more in-depth analysis such as pinched nerves, curvatures or scoliosis, or other physical conditions lurking under the surface.

My research made me realize that diagnosing these problems and taking measures to correct bad posture helps improve present medical conditions and prevent future issues. Doctors offer helpful advice, in-office procedures, and home exercises to combat results of bad body positioning. Changing incorrect habits and being aware of how a person carries themselves is the key to good mental and physical health.

Assessing your own posture

I found a great resource for assessing your own posture, you can check it out here.

References:
www.livestrong.com
www.wikipedia.org
www.betterhealth.vic.au
www.cbsnews.com
www.bls.gov
www.mayoclinic.com
www.lifenph.com
www.ninds.nih.gov

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