As we age, our muscles and spine weaken, leading to poorer upright posture. This condition is called kyphosis; the abnormal, excessive forward curving of the spine also known as “hunchback” or “round back”. Another common cause is a compression fracture, which can occur in weaker bones (possibly due to osteoporosis) after a low-impact accident.
Why having a correct posture is important and how it influences different parts of the body?
Spine is a S-shaped curve. When we sit or stand in a hunch posture, the curve in the thoracic spine increases leading to abnormal deviation in the upper and lower vertebras.
1) Round back posture can affect our breathing by compressing the ribcage. As we breathe in, the lung expands and contracts within the limited space leading to breathing difficulties. It can also affect digestion as the nerve supply gets interrupted.
2) Due to the forward bending of the neck, it can create a gap between 2 adjacent vertebrae and lead to spondylitis. It can also compress the circulation leading to increase in the blood pressure of the artery giving rise to hypertension. Nerve compression can lead to tingling and numbness in the hands.
If the first 2 vertebrae of the neck are rotated and blocked for many years, it can lead to congestion of the blood flow giving rise to degenerative disease like osteoarthritis/rheumatoid arthritis.
If the neck muscles are tight and the shoulder is protracted because of sitting in hunch position, it may lead to shoulder problems such as frozen shoulder/rotator cuff muscle injury/tendinitis
3) When the suboccipital muscles are tight at the region of neck and back of the skull, it may lead to headache/migraine or vision disturbance.
4) Sitting or standing for long periods puts pressure on the lower back and can lead to slipped disc, coccyx pain, tightening of glutes and piriformis muscle leading to compression of sciatic nerve causing pain, tingling and numbness in the legs.
It can also put pressure on the kidneys and cause kidney stones, cyst or UTI problems
5) In women, long sitting can put pressure on the ovaries and can disturb normal menstrual cycle.
Let's start right now and take daily precautions to reduce the likelihood of developing back problems/neck problems. Here's how :
Maintaining good posture
Avoid hunching when sitting/standing and be extra careful when lifting heavy items
Keep active and eat healthy food which can help prevent osteoporosis
Most importantly, seek an Osteopath who will adjust the spine and the surrounding areas like muscles, ligaments, organs and regulate a proper blood flow throughout the body