You probably have felt the tension or pain in your back or neck from sitting in a position that might have been damaging, and little did you know that this posture can actually affect your internal organs.
Chiropractors have long believed that the position of the spine affects the nerves that exit from the spine. It is this nerve that controls all of our bodily functions. If you have a spinal misalignment, realigning that joint can help reduce stress on nerves and organs, but if you then go right back to your typical damaging posture, you can keep recreating that problem.
The Effect Your Posture Can Have On Organs And Systems Of The Body
Cardiovascular and Respiratory Systems
The body’s natural posture aligns the musculoskeletal system and keeps the internal organs in the correct position for optimum health, allowing the muscles of the ribcage and diaphragm to assist the lungs in breathing in the approved manner.
The Intercostals, Sternocleidomastoid, Pectoralis minor; Scalenes, Abdominals, and Diaphragm make up the muscles of the respiratory pump, and if the chest cavity becomes constrained due to imbalances within these muscles from postural problems, may restrict an individual’s ability to breathe efficiently. This, in turn, may reduce the amount of oxygen reaching the tissues of the body.
As muscles involved in the cardiorespiratory system become contracted, breathing becomes thin, and uses more muscles causing more overuse, and decreasing your oxygen intake.
Being that these muscles connect to the cervical and cranial portions of the body, excessive tension builds up and results in headaches, lightheadedness, and dizziness.
Excessive shallow breathing can lead to a change in the carbon dioxide/oxygen blood concentration leading to feelings of anxiety; an increase in pain due to the activity of pain receptors; fatigued stiff muscles, resulting in poor joint motion of the spine and rib cage; poor sleep patterns, and poor circulation.
A prolonged period of inadequate oxygen intake could make the body more susceptible to attacks from harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites and other infectious agents.
Furthermore, any experienced voice coach will tell you that proper posture is a must for a singer’s voice to sound strong and travel far, without putting much strain on the body.
If you curl your spine and shoulders into a slouched position and try to stand up straight while holding your breath, you’ll feel the vacuum that is created inside your chest and abdomen when you regain your correct posture, compelling you to take a breath. This represents the amount of breathing space you lose, the extra lung volume you’re missing when you slouch or assume a wrong posture.
The Endocrine system
Poor posture may increase not just the physical stress on the body, but also pain, due to continued inadequate movement and imbalances within the structures. As a result, mental and emotional stress intensifies, potentially leading to irregular sleep patterns, decreased productivity due to fatigue, decreased concentration and increased risk of ill health.
Every time your stress levels increase the body helps you cope by releasing hormones (cortisol). The greater the stress level, the greater the number of hormones secreted, which eventually leads to a depletion of these stress-relieving hormones.
This gives an adverse effect on the Endocrine System and on the Adrenal Glands. With every tiny decline in their function, every organ and system in your body will be profoundly affected; from carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism, fluid and electrolyte balance, to heart and cardiovascular function (your body can even change shape).
Over time, you will become more fatigued and run down, decreasing your energy and ability to keep up with your daily tasks. Muscular strength and stamina may also be affected and you will be more susceptible to developing certain kinds of illnesses.
Posture And The Digestive System
While good posture allows the stomach and intestines to contract correctly for healthy digestion and absorption of nutrients, poor posture may potentially affect digestion.
first of all, spinal distortion due to poor posture, alters the position of the internal organs, such as the stomach and intestines leading to faulty digestion and decreasing your body’s ability to successfully absorb nutrients from food and eliminate toxins efficiently from the bowel and bladder.
Build up of toxins can lead to an increase in free radicals, which can cause tissue destruction by attacking protein, DNA and cell membranes. Excessive free radical damage leads to numerous degenerative conditions, aging and the development of cancer.
Chronic inflammation is caused when the body cannot excrete toxins from the body, mainly due to poor liver function, prompting the body to produce an inflammatory reaction, which increases pain and decreases movement.
Degenerative diseases can also be caused by a buildup of toxins, which can destroy cells within organs leading to damage and therefore impaired function.
When it comes to the digestive system, proper posture allows the internal organs in the abdomen region to assume and maintain their natural position without undue compression. Compressions of that nature can interfere with the normal flow and function of the gastrointestinal apparatus and contribute to several digestive problems from acid reflux to constipation and even hernias.
By straightening up the body you can allow greater space for the internal organs to spread and balance.
The consequences of poor posture are endless, and when coupled with the natural aging process it greatly increases the severity of these effects. To fully understand how to age healthily, you must always consider posture as a predominant factor, due to its effect on nearly every system of the body. The rate of aging can be drastically increased if you have poor posture.
An old saying will say “Structure lead to function”, and by having poor posture, over time, you will actually change the structure of your body, and that can lead to improper function of the supporting structures.
When a person has anterior head carriage it causes the posterior cervical muscles to work much harder. And at the point you begin to age, the strength and elasticity of the body begin to diminish, an extra workload is no longer healthy.
With poor posture, you compress the internal organs, and over time, these organs begin to break down. As mentioned earlier, the compression of the lungs as a result of poor posture damage them, and does not allow them to fully expand; the compression of the vessels of the cardiovascular system does not allow their contents to flow as it should.
However, by having strong posture, we allow the body to function at maximum potential, which allows us to fight disease and have less pain throughout our daily life. Posture affects all the systems of the body, therefore, affecting every aspect of our lives, and it is only wise to make sure we utilize good posture at all times.