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The importance of posture

Good posture can have a huge effect on your wellbeing and physical health. Plus, it can help prevent future health problems. So, let’s get started!

Spinal health & the Nervous System

Your spinal cord is a structure that runs through the centre of your spine, all the way from your brain to your lower back. It’s a major part of your central nervous system, which receives and regulates information from other systems in your body to maintain a controlled upright posture (The Postural Control System 2023). The spinal cord is made up of tissue, nerves and cells that carry messages from your brain to the rest of your body (Spinal Cord 2021).

The spinal cord is protected by the vertebral column (Spinal Cord 2021), which is made up of vertebrae stacked on top of each other. If this bony column is out of alignment, it can impede the nervous system from controlling important bodily functions efficiently.

Posture and motion both require sequential and often rhythmic activation of skeletal muscles on both sides of your body (Ray, Guayasamin 2022). If your spine isn’t in alignment, this activation can be interrupted, and your motor and sensory functions can be impacted.

Effects of poor posture

What exactly is posture? In a nutshell, posture is the combination of muscles, reflexes and the natural position of your spine. It’s also behavioural, which means, outside of injury or illness, your habits largely determine how good (or bad!) your posture is.

Good posture means symmetry in your body frame that allows your spine to be in its natural, healthy position. It contributes to overall wellbeing and health – not to mention improved confidence as you look and feel your best.

On the other hand, poor posture, such as hunched shoulders, head tilted forward, or a curved upper back, puts stress on your body. If this happens for short periods of time only, the effects are temporary. But when poor posture becomes a long-term habit and your body enters a prolonged state of physical distress, your sympathetic nervous system may become overactive (Calming the Overactive Nervous System 2022).

If the sympathetic nervous system is active for too long, it can disrupt important functions such as digestion, reproduction, immunity and sleep quality (Calming the Overactive Nervous System 2022). So, poor posture can have a huge effect on many parts of your life.

How to get started on improving posture

If you’ve decided your posture could use some work, what do you do now? Because posture is largely behavioural, by changing your habits, you can also change your posture. While there are a few things you can do to improve posture at home, it’s always a good idea to talk to an expert and develop a plan tailored to your body and your needs.

Make an appointment to come and visit our friendly chiropractors for more information about spinal health, and how to improve your posture.


Spinal Cord, Cleveland Clinic, 2021

D L Ray, M Guayasamin, How Does the Central Nervous System for Posture and Locomotion Cope With Damage-Induced Neural Asymmetry?, Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, 2022

The Postural Control System, Physiopedia, 2023

I M Moustafa, A Youssef, A Ahbouch, M Tamim, D E Harrison, Is forward head posture relevant to autonomic nervous system function and cervical sensorimotor control? Cross sectional study, Gait & Posture, 2020

FXMedicine, Calming the Overactive Nervous System with Dr. Damian Kristof and Dr. Wayne Todd, 2022


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