The 42-Pound Head: Why Good Posture Matters even when You’re Sitting

Chiropractor in DenverIf you have a sedentary job that keeps you glued to your chair, your body is likely unwittingly taking the “flexion position.” This is the term used when you hunch so close to the computer screen that your hip muscles tighten and shorten, and gravity pulls you into a position that resembles the letter C.  

When you are too engrossed in what you’re doing, maintaining proper posture can be low on the totem pole of your priorities. No matter the activity, from sleeping to standing, however, it’s important to mind your posture. This is because, when poor posture becomes a habit, your brain begins to accept the unnatural position and you could develop complications because of this.

Do You Look like a “C”?

Dr. Kapandji, author of the book Psychology of Joints says that when sitting up, the human head weighs 12 pounds. Leaning the head forward increases the weight of the head on the spine by 10 pounds. So, if you lean 2” forward, your head weighs 32 pounds in relation to your spine; if you lean 3” forward, it becomes a 42-pound weight that your spine needs to support.

Forward leaning brings abnormal leverage that may pull your spine out of alignment. When that happens, your lung capacity may decrease by 30%, your inhalation may lessen, and you may have a hard time regulating your bowel movements.

Your brain is also likely to rob energy that’s supposedly for thinking, immune function, and metabolism and use it to manage abnormal posture relationships and processing. You are also likely to develop stress-related illnesses and chronic pain conditions on the lower back, neck, and hips.

Unlearn Your Flexion

According to the Denver Integrated Spine Center, if you are experiencing chronic pain on your back, get in touch with your orthopedic specialist or chiropractor. More than facilitating the recovery of car accident victims, chiropractors also help manage other types of soft tissue and musculoskeletal injuries. Some can even help you correct your posture.

On a daily basis, try to break up long periods of being sedentary. For instance, walk around while on the phone or get up to throw your trash in the bin. Your body craves movement, so give yourself reasons to get up.