Optimal Health Chiropractic Anne O’Donoghue Chiropractic Clinic in Cwmbran, Abergavenny & Cardiff, South Wales

Blogs. Posture

Could posture be affecting your health and mood?

As a Chiropractor I often give talks to groups on posture and health. There is a usually a shuffling of bottoms on seats as people become aware of their posture and attempt to correct it. Why? Whilst we all subconsciously know that posture is important, our increasingly sedentary lifestyles, use of modern computing technology including smart phones and tablets are taking a toll not only on posture but our long term health and well-being.
Posture and depression
There is currently an ongoing debate supporting the link between posture and depression. In the past year there has been a number of research articles linking posture with a range of emotions such as anger and sadness. Findings demonstrate that stooped posture, rounded or elevated shoulders, protrusion of the neck and hyper extension of the knees can lead to an increase in negative thoughts, the increased use of negative emotion words, lower self esteem and sadness. This research is consistent with the theories that posture plays a pivotal role in our emotive experiences. Our spines contain a larger number of emotional receptors than the brain or gut, so perhaps we should not be surprised.
In comparison, good posture is now being considered to reduce fatigue, decrease self focus in people with mild to moderate depression, reduce negative and increase positive mood especially in the face of stress. Thus, your posture can become a strategy for dealing with stress.
Many are unaware of their posture issues but you only have to walk down a typical street to encounter people are walking with heads tilted forward staring into their smart phone, individuals in a defensive posture with shoulder hunched up to the ears, those with neck pain / stiffness resulting in restrictions in their ability to turn their head or popping painkillers for headaches or back pain. Is this you?
As a chiropractor who measures posture as part of my analysis of overall health and wellbeing, I am passionate about posture. I hope reading this makes you to shuffle you bottom on your seat and become more aware of your posture?


Blogs. Pain is a request to change

Pain – is it good or bad?

Musculoskeletal conditions can cause pain, and it is the most common reason for people visiting my practice. But what does pain telling us?

Pain is invisible and society is becoming increasing intolerant to pain, many have experienced the frustration that colleagues and family believe they are faking it! How many of us as children or even as adult are told to stop whingeing? Pain is not simply a sensation caused by an injury, inflammation in the body, or tissue damage.

Recent research tells us that you can have pain in the body without anything being any injuries or damage. You can also have “damage” and so called degenerative changes in the body without any pain.

When I ask why do you want to get rid of the pain, their belief is it stopping them from doing what they want to do? My follow-on question is ‘what have you learnt from being in pain?’.

As health care professionals we need to listen to patients and understand how their pain influences their daily lives as it can have both a physical and psychological impact. Whilst I help the person manage and understand their pain it is always a two-way process.
At the point when I see people for treatment, often the warning signs that something isn’t right have been ignored. Pain and discomfort is the body’s way of getting us to sit up, notice that we need to pay attention and do something different. We ignore these minor warning signs at our peril. At the point when we are in massive amounts of pain, your body is forcing you to listen and act. I can help your body to heal but it rarely comes without the need for changes to the way we live our lives. Without listening to our body and making the appropriate changes pain often returns.

We all know of people who walk around with knee, back, or shoulder pain that drastically limits their ability to be active or live a normal life. However, look around you, there are also many people who have some significant “damage” in their body either from congenital defects, degenerative changes such as from arthritis or trauma but who have no symptoms or pain. A cross-sectional study of MRIs done on the cervical spines of 1,211 participants ages 20-70 found that 87.6% of them had a bulging disc without any pain.
In some cases, pain often has more to do with the brain and nervous system than with the actual condition of the tissue. Research shows that those with a higher capacity to control their negative feelings showed the largest responses to the placebo treatments. For these patients techniques such as Neuro Linguistic Programming can be used to help manage the impact of negative emotions on a person’s ability to heal.

Is pain good or bad? The answer is that pain is nowhere near as simple as we initially believed.


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