Educate patients regarding chiropractor posture correction and the posture longevity connection
Posture is one of the most overlooked aspects of good health and longevity. Research shows a clear connection between chiropractor posture correction vs. poor posture and diminished longevity and quality of life.
The American Journal of Pain Management reported, “The effect of posture on health is becoming more evident. Spinal pain, headache, mood, blood pressure, pulse and lung capacity are among the functions most easily influenced by posture.”1
Fitness guru Jack LaLanne, who was also a chiropractor, put it this way — “You are only as young as your spine.”
Chiropractor posture correction: anterior head movement
As the head moves forward, all measures of health status are reduced.
Rene Cailliet, director of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at USC, concluded that forward head posture can add up to 30 pounds of pressure on the spine and reduce lung capacity by as much as 30%, which can lead to heart and blood vascular disease. He determined a relationship between forward head posture and the digestive system as well as endorphin production affecting pain and the experience of pain.2
Here is a helpful analogy: Imagine your head was a bowling ball and your neck is the hand that holds that ball. Imagine letting the bowling ball sit in the palm of your hand with your arm tucked tight into your body. Now slowly move your arm away from your body while continuing to palm the ball. The weight of the ball will put more and more stress on your arm as it moves away from your body until the weight causes failure or injury to occur. Unlike the bowling ball that can be dropped to the floor when your arm gives out, your head must remain attached to your body and continues its forward and downward movement.
According to Kapandji in “Physiology of the Joints,” Volume III, every inch the head moves forward increases the weight of the head on the neck by 10 pounds. The typical forward neck posture of 3 inches increases the weight of the head on the neck by 30 pounds and the pressure on the muscles six times.3
Anterior head carriage has been exacerbated by the increased use of personal technology devices including smart phones, tablets and computers. This exaggerated forward-flexed posture of the neck results in neck and shoulder pain, stiffness and soreness. You see it everywhere, at home and in the office. It has resulted in an epidemic of “tech neck,” a problem that is getting worse.
Posture and life expectancy
Poor posture can impact your life expectancy.
According to the British Regional Heart Study, researchers found that men who lost 3 centimeters in height were 64% more likely to die of a heart attack. Over the 20-year period of the study, men lost an average of 1.67 centimeters, which was associated with a 42% increased risk of heart attacks, even in men who had no history of cardiovascular disease.4
A group of scientists led by Deborah M. Kado, MD, wanted to see if there was a correlation between postural distortion and a person’s health. They started with the biggest health problem: death. They asked, “Was there any correlation between a person having a hyperkyphosis and having a decreased life expectancy?” Kado reported in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society that people with hyperkyphosis were two times more likely to die from pulmonary causes. They were also 2.4 times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease than those without poor posture.5
Too much sitting can shorten your life
According to a study from the American Cancer Society, the amount of time you spend sitting can affect your risk of death. This was a significant study that followed 127,000 people over 21 years. The study found that prolonged periods of sitting have a negative influence on key metabolic factors like triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and several other biomarkers of obesity and other chronic diseases.6
To live a long, active, energetic life, few things matter more than chiropractor posture correction and resulting good posture.
The posture connection
All functions of the body are regulated by oxygen. It must be replaced every moment because 90% of our lives depends on it.7 Oxygen energizes cells so they can regenerate.
The body uses oxygen to metabolize food and to eliminate toxins and waste through oxidation. The brain needs oxygen each second to process information. It is no surprise that anterior translation of the head impacts so many biomarkers of health and longevity. Anterior head carriage and the chronic sequela of hyperkyphosis limit the mobility of the thoracic cage and impair the function of its contents, the pulmonary and cardiovascular system. This decrease in thoracic mobility results in a decrease in chest expansion and a reduction of the normal intake of oxygen.
Chest expansion is measured (using a tape measure) as the difference between maximal inspiration and maximal forced expiration at the 4th intercostal space in males or just below the breasts in females. Normal chest expansion is 2-5 inches.8 It is a measure of thoracic mobility and breathing.
Pulse oximetry provides an additional, high-tech measure of the oxygen level in the blood, as well as heart rate. A pulse oximeter is a small device clipped on to the forefinger. Normal Sp02 readings range from 95-100%.9 Normal heart rate is 50-70 beats per minute. Low blood oxygen can result in acidosis, cellular destruction, chronic inflammation, and disease.
Communicate posture to patients
Chest expansion and pulse oximetry provide easy-to-document, low-cost measures of health and wellness as impacted by chiropractic posture correction that are easy to communicate to patients.
It’s time for chiropractors to take ownership of the profound benefits that result from chiropractor postural correction and its impact on health and longevity.
MARK SANNA, DC, ACRB Level II, FICC, is a member of the Chiropractic Summit and a board member of the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress. He is the CEO of Breakthrough Coaching. Learn more at mybreakthrough.com or call 800-723-8423.
- Lennon J, Shealy N, Cady, RK, Matta W et al. Postural and Respiratory Modulation of Autonomic Function, Pain, and Health. American Journal of Pain Management. 1994;4 (1):36‐39.
- Cailliet R, Gross L, Rejuvenation Strategy. New York, Doubleday and Co. 1987
- Kapandji IA. The physiology of the joints. 6th ed. Vol. 3. Churchill Livingstone; 2008.
- Wannamethee SG, Shaper AG, Lennon L, Whincup PH. Height loss in older men: associations with total mortality and incidence of cardiovascular disease. Arch Intern Med. 2006 Dec 11‐25;166(22):2546‐52.
- Deborah M. Kado, MD, MS, Mei‐Hua Huang, DrPH, Arun S. Karlamangla, MD, PhD, Elizabeth Barrett‐Connor, MD and Gail A. Greendale, MD. Hyperkyphotic Posture Predicts Mortality in Older Community Dwelling Men and Women: A Prospective Study Journal of the American Geriatrics Society Volume 52 Issue 10 Page 1662 ‐ October 2004.
- Alpa V Patel, Maret L Maliniak, Erika Rees‐Punia, Charles E Matthews, Susan M Gapstur. Prolonged Leisure Time Spent Sitting in Relation to Cause‐Specific Mortality in a Large US Cohort. American Journal of Epidemiology, Volume 187, Issue 10, October 2018, Pages 2151–158, https://doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwy125
- Herbert Zeng. Nutrition Optimization for Health and Longevity. 2010:12
- Özge İLLEEZ MEMETOĞLU, Bülent BÜTÜN, İlhan SEZER. Chest Expansion and Modified Schober Measurement Values in a Healthy, Adult Population: Arch Rheumatol. 2016 Jun; 31(2): 145–150.
- Kong HJ, Shin TJ, Hyun HK, Kim YJ, Kim JW, Shon WJ. Oxygen saturation and perfusion index from pulse oximetry in adult volunteers with viable incisors. Acta Odontol Scand. 2016 Jul;74(5):411‐5. doi: 10.3109/00016357.2016.1171898. Epub 2016 May 3.