Helping Patient's Posture
Written by Editor   
Monday, January 09, 2017 09:05 AM

News Bite:  The benefits of improved posture are well known.  Here are three simple tips to help your patients improve their overall posture, and as demonstrated in research, improve their quality of life and health.

“Stand up straight,” “don’t slouch,” and “stop hunching over” are familiar phrases from childhood. Maintaining good posture starting early in life can prevent any number of chronic pain issues later in life as an adult. This need for good posture becomes even more important as we age. Any number of chronic conditions common in the elderly, from arthritis to osteoporosis, can be exacerbated by poor posture. 

1. Just keep moving 

The importance of exercise in maintaining good health helps maintain a healthy weight and keeps you flexible and strong. Low impact exercise such as yoga or tai chi are still beneficial for the less physically active. A 2014 article looked at the effect of tai chi exercise, compared to stretching exercises or standard care, on physical function, fall rates, and quality of life among 145 elderly stroke survivors. The tai chi group had two-thirds fewer falls than either of the other two groups, and showed better aerobic endurance.

2. Supplement your diet

The importance of proper nutrition, including taking calcium and vitamin D supplements in order to keep their bones healthy, is important to teach. However, some interesting research has shown that these nutritional supplements can provide an extra level of protection against falling by increasing postural balance. A group of researchers studied the effect of adding calcium into an exercise routine for a group of 24 women with osteoporosis. Some of the women only received the supplements, while others undertook an exercise routine in addition to the supplements. Both groups showed a slowing in the progression of their osteoporosis, but the women who also undertook exercise had significantly less risk of falling.

This would seem to indicate that combining exercise and nutrition provides your patients the best possible boost to their posture, especially as they age.

3. Sit up straight

There is already an ample body of evidence showing that poor sitting posture can result in chronic lower back, shoulder, and neck pain. Hours at a time spent hunched in front of a computer monitor are usually the main culprits in such cases. Even your older patients who may have retired may suffer from poor posture due to many hours sitting in their favorite spot on the couch while watching television.

While it goes without saying that you also want your patients to not be so sedentary, there are things they can do to improve their posture while sitting down. This is where carrying a line of posture pillows and back supports that are specifically designed for use while sitting can provide your chiropractic patients with pain relief and better posture.

You will also want to recommend your senior patients pursue a chiropractic wellness program that includes regular adjustments to keep their older joints and tendons in the best shape possible to support better posture.

Helping your patients keep good posture as they age will reduce the incidence of falls, increase their strength and flexibility, and allow them to be active in their community for as long as possible.