Soft, sagging chairs. Soft lumpy mattresses. Nonadjustable car steering wheels. Low feet-in-front automobile car seats. Rigid school desks. Modern sofas with curved backs or no backs. Everywhere, we are surrounded with furniture and devices that not only do not help our posture, but in some cases do damage to it. Chronic poor posture can lead to fatigue, irritability, muscle strain, and in extreme cases, functional and organic problems.
In our own home, many of us have “posture traps” in which we use for relaxation and comfort, but which in reality are detrimental to normal body balance. Unfortunately, most people confuse softness with comfort, and don’t realize that unless a seat or mattress is firm enough and
supportive enough to properly hold the spine, the vital muscles and joints can be strained. Sinking into our favorite chair can crowd our abdomen, compress our chest cavity and ultimately hinder our body from functioning healthfully.
In some cases, stiff and unyielding chairs can be also damaging. Some school desks are prime examples. Seats should allow the child to rest his feet on the floor, with the knees at a right angle. The back of the chair should support the spine and prevent the chest from sagging.
There are several things we can do to achieve healthier sitting posture for our family. First, get rid of harmful “posture traps”. Invest in posture supportive chairs. Don’t forget that softness and comfort are not synonymous, and that the true test of a seat is whether we can sit in it for long periods of time without fatigue or discomfort. The old-fashioned rocking chair, which exercises the legs and stimulates blood circulation as
it supports the back, is often found to be an excellent posture seat.
Our mattress should be firm and our vehicles should have firm cushioning with adjustable seats and ample leg room that allow us to sit on the fatty part of our buttocks and not at the end of our spine. Dashboard instruments should also be able to be reached without straining.
As a Chiropractic Orthopedist treating health problems related to the structure and nerve functions of the body, it is not uncommon to see many injuries that could be avoided with simple precautions and awareness of postural attitudes. Please remember that when we permit our spine to sag, we are allowing muscles to relax and ligaments to be placed under extension as the segments of the spine reach their limit of motion. This in turn
can cause many musculo-skeletal issues.
The reality is, most of cause wear and tear on our skeletal system by improper bending, lifting, sleeping, work postures in additional to sitting on structures with improper support. This is why Physicians in our profession recommend having periodic spinal examinations, and treatments to combat the negative stressors we cannot avoid.
If you are attached to certain furniture in your house that is not supportive, keep it for antiquity sake and let your dog have the broken down, sagging easy chair! Stay out of “posture traps”, and enjoy life to its fullest.