Good posture, important for your spine, important for your health

Good posture, better back

We all know that good posture will relax your back and open the spinal column. The muscles in the back loosen up and you will have less tension and pain. And you also look better when you are standing and sitting straight!

The vertebral column carries our weight. From a young age we develop postural habits in daily life. We often sit and stand in only one way and change too little. This causes compressed joints and tired muscles. Consequently the muscles get tense and after some time this results in chronic spasms.

And so we might get pain. As the muscles are chronically under stress, the vertebrae in the area also pull together, and the inter-vertebral spaces narrow.

So over time you can get problems such as lower back ache, tension in the upper back, stiff neck etc. But it’s not only the back itself that gets affected. The impact of good posture is wider than that.

poor posture

What about the rest of the body?

Very simply put, from (the area of) the spine there are nerves and blood vessels that go to other parts of the body. To muscles in the arms and legs, to the organs and different tissues in our body.

When vertebrae are getting too close together and the muscles around them are too tense, then the nerves and blood vessels don’t have enough space to work properly. They can’t pass on all the necessary information to the parts of the body they are connected with, such as the organs.

If for instance your upper back is too tense you might get problems with the lungs or the heart. When the middle of the back is too collapsed you might get problems with the stomach or the liver. Lower in the spine there are nerves that go to the intestines and the kidneys.

Various conditions such as asthma, arrhythmia, stomach upsets, intestinal complaints often have a link to a blockage in the related part of the spine. This means that in order to deal with such issues it is important to improve your posture and make sure that the vertebrae get more space and the muscles around them more relaxed.

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Other issues

The same goes for hip, knee and ankle problems. We often put more strain on one side of the body. A lot of people are right-handed and will use that side more. The spine will not be straight and the muscles on one side of the spine might be more tense. Consequently you can get pain or discomfort on that side. But not necessarily so, you might get more problems on the other side because that side gets pulled out of place.Other complaints in the body very often have a link with what is happening in and around the spine. Problems in the arms, such as tennis elbow or golf elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive strain injuries will usually have a link with a blockage in the spinal column. This can be in the neck and/or the upper back.

Also with blood pressure issues, there might be a link with the spine, especially in the neck. If the blood pressure is too high or too low you might want to look into improving your neck posture. Tension in the area there will influence the vertebral arteries and the blood flow through them.

Read: Chances Are You’re Sitting Too Much And Why You Should Care

What to do?

Exercises that help to improve posture are essential for a good health. It is not just about moving, it is also about moving in the most beneficial way for your body. In Taijiwuxigong as developed by my teacher Dr Shen Hongxun we put a lot of emphasis on improving posture and in this way healing yourself. If you suffer from any condition mentioned above you are welcome if you live in Belgium  to join any of my classes or workshops to find out what exercises are beneficial for you. And most other complaints will have a link to blockages in the spine.

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Sofie-Ann Bracke
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Sofie-Ann Bracke is a body coach with a mission to help people develop a better awareness of body language and posture, and to improve their physical, emotional and mental well-being.

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