Did you know an adult’s head can weigh between 4.5 and 6.3 kilos? This is approximately the same weight as a bowling ball! Without good alignment, your head could be producing unnecessary strain on your neck, also known as postural overload. Postural overload is a major cause of negative health outcomes in people’s every day and work lives. This is particularly frustrating because much of the discomfort and pain can be avoided through correct education and addressing of day-to-day risk factors. There are a several signs that could indicate posture issues. The way one sleeps, stands and sits effects their posture. If someone has bad posture, they may find they gradually develop aches and pains in their back or neck. It is also said people with poor posture have poor core stability.
“Core stability” is a popular term used a lot at the moment by many health professionals, personal trainers etc. Core stability is used to describe your body’s ability to use its muscles appropriately to stabilise the spine and pelvis during movement. If you have poor core stability you can tend to have muscles that do not work very well in your back and hips, and you will tend to have problems with basic tasks like walking, climbing stairs and squatting. Some signs of bad posture include:
Lifestyle factors can contribute to Postural Overload
Most postural overload is increased by lifestyle factors including:
• Lack of exercise
• Being overweight or obese
• Sitting for long periods
• Poor head position • Stress
Treatment of Postural Overload
- Manual therapy – as qualified health professional Dr Bailey may use spinal adjustments, manipulation, traction or other manual therapies to help relieve pain and correct your posture.
- Exercise- Dr Bailey can prescribe an individual exercise program for you. Your exercise may include stretching, mobility and strengthening exercises targeting the muscles that stabilise and support your head and spine; this is known as improving your core stability.
Postural Overload, if not managed correctly, can be an ongoing problem for many people. It is important to attend regular maintenance visits with your chiropractor and continue the exercise program you have been prescribed to strengthen and condition your back even after the pain has subsided.
Prevention of postural overload
In most cases, postural overload can be prevented by making regular visits to your chiropractor and a few lifestyle changes. Some suggestions include:
- Exercise regularly – this is important not only for your posture, but for your overall health and wellbeing. Exercise will also improve posture and increase muscle support of the spine. It is recommended we do 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a day. You should do some form of physical activity regardless of your age, weight, health problems or abilities. Strive to be active every day in as many ways as possible, doing a range of physical activities incorporating fitness, strength, balance and flexibility. If you have stopped physical activity or are starting a new physical activity, you should always start at a level that is easily manageable and gradually build up to the recommended amount, type and frequency of activity.
- Lift and carry safely – if you are picking up a heavy load, squat down, hold the object as close to your body as practical and lift by using your legs (keeping your back straight). Get some help from another person or use equipment (such as a trolley) if the load is too heavy to manage comfortably on your own.
- Maintaining a healthy body weight is also very important for your spinal health and overall wellbeing – if you are overweight or obese you are putting extra strain on your spine and all of the other parts of your body.Consider your head position – always be aware of your neck and head position, especially in seated positions such as when driving or sitting at a desk for long periods of time. See our work place assessment and car posture guides in The Ashgrove Spinal Centre Mobile App for help in this area.
- Don’t slump
- Keep your chin tucked in towards the neck
- Hold your shoulders back
- Sit upright
- Don’t slouch or slump in your seat
- Change your mattress and/or pillows – surfaces that are too soft or too hard can aggravate a sore neck. If you are using more than one pillow, you need to change your pillows. See Dr Bailey for more information on mattresses he recommends and pillows we prescribe.
Chiropractors are fully qualified and registered health professionals who are highly trained to diagnose and/or treat conditions of the neuromuscular skeletal system.Book An Appointment