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Posture - Stand up Straight People:

Many health professionals recognize the importance of proper spinal health, but do you? Do you know that good spinal health and posture help the organs of your body function efficiently? Or that poor posture and an unhealthy spine can reduce the circulation of blood, make breathing more difficult and cause the body as a whole to function at less than its optimum? Good posture allows your body to function optimally and when your body is working at its best, you are better able to perform your duties at work, play and enjoy life. When you have a healthy spine and good posture, you will have more energy as a result of your body functioning with minimal strain. Just as your car runs best after a tune-up and wheel alignment, your body runs best when it is in proper alignment. When your tires are out of alignment, your car pulls to one side and the tires will wear unevenly causing you to have to replace them very frequently. The same thing happens to the most complex machine you own- your body! If it is not functioning properly, with all its parts working, as they should, it will wear unevenly and prematurely. Since you cannot replace your body as you can tires on your car, it is wise to keep it tuned - up and running as efficiently as possible. Doctors of chiropractic are specially trained to examine your body as a whole and to "tune it up" where it needs to be. Much unnecessary wear and tear on your body can be avoided by making sure that all its parts are working, as they should. Periodic chiropractic exams will help keep you at your best!

Understanding Your Three Natural Curves:
Your spine is truly a remarkable engineering feat. It is a column of small bones designed to be strong enough to support the weight of the head and body, yet flexible enough to allow you to sit, walk, dance and move. The secret to your spine's supple strength is in its balance or curves.

Learn The Curves:
The small bones of your spine are called vertebrae and are designed to fit together in an S-shaped column of curves is balanced so that the weight or your body is evenly distributed throughout your spine. If these curves are out of balance, the vertebrae are pushed out of line, stressing muscles and discs, causing pain. The first curve of your spine is the cervical curve (A). It consists of seven small, flexible vertebrae that support your skull. The cervical curve has a slight forward tilt.

The second curve or your spine is the thoracic curve (B). The twelve thoracic vertebrae are larger and more rigid. They are the mainstay of the chest cavity. Twenty-four ribs extend from these long, slender bones. The thoracic curve has a more prominent backward curvature.

The third curve or your spine is the lumbar curve (C). Five massive lumbar vertebrae carry most of the weight of your body and are mobile. The lumbar curve, often called the workhorse of the spine, has a forward tilt.

The fourth and fifth curves are created by your Sacrum (D) and your Coccyx (E).

Keep The Curves:
To keep your spine well aligned and moving smoothly, the way it was designed to move, you must maintain the balance of these three curves. Maintaining this alignment minimizes stress on the spine and helps prevent back pain and injury. The diagrams below illustrate how poor posture can strain your spine. Such strain is painful and can lead to more serious problems.

Observe how a flat back can stress the lumbar region and put pressure on the discs. And how a sway back can stress the muscles and ligaments of the lumbar region. Listen to your kids if they complain about their backpacks or book bags causing back pain. Also check your kids regularly for scoliosis or abnormal curving of their spine.

These stresses can be eliminated by developing good posture, spinal care and following an exercise program designed to strengthen your spine.