For months I have been obsessed with posture- my own, friends, and patients. Because of our sitting based lifestyle (at work, at the gym, driving, on the couch) many people develop forward head carry and a slumped shoulder posture. Why is this bad?
It’s bad because forward head carry (FHC) can stretch the spinal cord at it’s most vulnerable and important spot- the brain stem just below the skull. This area of the spinal cord houses the the 10th cranial nerve called the Vagus nerve also known as the wandering nerve. This large nerve controls most of your sympathetic nervous system responsible for the function of your internal organs. Staying in FHC and disrupting the function of the Vagus can lead to a state of chronic panic that is common today- which speeds up your breathing, slows down digestion and intestinal function, and slows your metabolism.
Living in this state (remember fight or flight?) should be short lived- a constant state of it can lead to headaches, fatigue, digestive issues, pain, and irregular heart beat among others. Sounds fun, huh?
What can one do about FHC and disruption of the Vagus nerve? First get up and move! Regularly. Secondly get on a regimen of corrective exercises to restore your innate posture. A third strategy is to practice deep diaphragmatic breathing or yogic chanting to reset your nervous system.
Sitting is the new smoking- it will make you miserable or kill you early. The choice is yours- please contact me for more information about “resetting” your posture!
In health, Dr Matt
- Posted in: TGIM