Here’s the scenario: I show a patient their posture pictures and the person sees their head leaning forward, and says to me, “My mom has been on my case my whole life to stand up straighter!”
So we have a laugh about it, but it is no laughing matter. The reason these patients were not able to stand up straighter is because their bodies do not permit them to! It’s not because they are lazy and do not want to. It’s because their spinal structure has adapted unsuccessfully over the course of their life, and this is the way their body compensates.
You may think, other than it not looking attractive, what is the health risk of having your head leaning forward? That’s a great question, and here’s the answer:
Imagine your head the weight of a 10 pound bowling ball.
Imagine your head leaning forward 10 or 20 degrees. Do you think this makes your head lighter or heavier? Of course the answer is heavier. How much heavier?
Research has shown that for every degree your head leans forward, that’s an extra pound of weight that needs to be supported by your neck and upper back muscles and spinal column. So, if your head is 20 degrees forward, you are supporting 30 pounds compared to 10 pounds in a healthy spine.
If this pattern were to continue over 20 or 30 years, how could this affect your long term health? In the September 23, 2004 issue of Journal of American Geriatrics Society, a study was done on over 1300 geriatrics. The results of the study showed that geriatrics with a hyperkyphotic curve, that means a greater exaggeration of the upper back curve, developed by a forward leaning head, INCREASED MORTALITY BY UP TO 14 YEARS!
Why? One reason is that the stress of a forward leaning head over a long period of time will result in reduced blood and nerve supply to your heart, and the reason given in the study is hyperkyphotic posture was specifically associated with an increased rate of death due to atherosclerosis.
Reduced nerve supply and reduced blood flow to your heart is serious business. This is why I have been using a digital posture analysis in my health practice for years. Your posture is a window into the function of your Nervous System.
Poor posture means poor Nervous System function.
Poor Nervous System function means poor ability to adapt, thrive and heal.
Poor ability to adapt, thrive and heal is a recipe for sickness, illness and disease.
Show me someone with poor posture who exhibits amazing health. Show me someone with poor posture with lots of energy and stamina.
Maybe your mother was right after all!