Good posture — we all know that we look better good when we stand up straight; that’s why Mom always told us to do it. Additionally, for years, chiropractors have advocated improving the curve of the spine through adjustments, traction, and neck pillows. But, does better posture actually improve your health?

Numerous scientific articles published over the years show that improved posture correlates with improved athletic performance. Anterior head syndrome, a secondary condition to neuro-structural shift has been linked with conditions such as irritated nerves, blood vessels (thoracic outlet syndrome), muscle tissue, and pain. It has also been linked to conditions like fibromyalgia, chronic strains, early degeneration, and arthritis. A new article published in the journal Brain Circulation puts real numbers to the effects of poor posture.

The Effects of Poor Posture

Katz et. al. studied a group of men and women with abnormal neck curves using both x-ray analysis and an MRI angiogram (MRA) analysis of blood flow into their brain. When they forced the neck into a proper curve, they found that it improved blood flow into the brain by 200 percent. This is very exciting because it shows definitively (possibly for the first time) that improvement of curve of the neck improves blood flow. Interestingly, one of the main hypotheses associated with Alzheimer’s and dementia is that it can be caused by a lack of blood flow into the brain, a condition called chronic cerebellar hypoxia. And, there is also evidence that ADHD in children is may be associated with poor blood flow to the brain.

For many young athletes, a neurostructural shift can lead to decreased athletic performance, which can include loss of focus, increased injuries, or increased fatigue. A quick check to see how your child’s posture affects their running is to look at their shoes. If one side wears quicker than the other, they have an asymmetrical load on one side of their body.

The Easy Button?

Good health should be super simple then! You just need to stand up straight and tall and all of your worries about neurodegenerative disease like Alzheimer’s go away, right? But what if you can’t stand up straight or if it hurts to do so? Does your “standing up straight” resemble Igor from Young Frankenstein? When we’re young, it should be a little easier to stand up straight. I’m always amazed at the number of children I see who cannot maintain good posture, despite poking and prodding from their mother. 

Is it your fault that you can’t stand up straight? Or is there something else that is keeping you from standing up straight?

As it turns out, I commonly find the answer to this problem is addressed by correcting neurostructural shifts at the base of the skull. Some people refer to the second as “the root,” though more commonly, we call it the axis. This area of the spine is a host to many major inputs into your brain, including your posture, balance, and coordination centers. The same center of your brain that’s responsible for your posture, in some cases, can lead to dizziness and vertigo. 

The Solution

So, what can we do to improve our posture? Here a few things we can easily do:

  • Pay attention to the advice our parents gave us growing up! Sit or stand up straight and tall for every inch we were given.
  • Improve our relationship with technology. (Have you heard of “tech neck”? Keep our cellphones, iPads, and laptops directly in front of us, not down in our laps.
  • Using neck pillows for sleeping will also help to some degree.

To determine how poor your neck curve is, you need to visit a qualified health professional who knows exactly what the health of your spine looks like. Your chiropractor should evaluate you for Anterior Head Syndrome and neurostructural shifts in your spine, and recommend a course of care to correct any issues.

At Upper Cervical Springfield, we focus on the root of the spine in a unique way. We correct this area and then guide you to improve those curves and postures over time. While we can help with extreme issues (vertigo, trigeminal neuralgia, dystonia, multiple sclerosis), we can also provide relief for neck and back pain.

For some, those conditions may be precursors to more severe issues. If getting your head on straight slows cognitive decline by increasing blood flow to the brain, everybody stands to benefit. We all have to go some day. I just want to keep my wits about me when I do.

About Upper Cervical

As an engineer, Dr. Schurger looks at the whole body as a system to determine what is best for each patient. He starts with custom spinal imaging in order to create a custom correction. Dr. Schurger has transformed himself through the ketogenic diet and offers nutritional advice to help patients improve their overall health. His practice, Upper Cervical Springfield is at 450 S. Durkin Drive, Ste. B, Springfield. Call 217-698-7900 to set up a complementary consultation.