How is poor posture affecting my gut heath??
When you’re at your desk sending off those last couple of emails or applying the finishing touches to your powerpoint presentation, posture is probably the last thing on your mind. At least until your neck and back start to ache. I’m sure you’ve heard that poor posture contributes to a variety of health issues like low energy, increased stress and depression, headaches along with neck and back pain to name a few.
Have you ever thought about the quality of your digestion or intestinal health being related to the way we sit or stand? Well it is! For centuries we have known that the nerve supply to the gastrointestinal system stems from the lumbosacral and upper cervical region (more on this later). Furthermore, recent research supports the notion that posture plays a major role in overall G.I. function.
First and foremost, a slouched position puts added pressure on the digestive organs themselves. Thus restricting the space required for expansion after a meal, forcing the body to adapt. Motility (the rate at which digested food moves through the intestines) and absorption of nutrients is hindered, and this most commonly results in the form of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), acid reflux (heartburn), diarrhea, and constipation.
Circling back to the statement about the G.I. systems nerve supply and its relation to posture is a matter of understanding anatomy and physiology. When we slouch or consistently look down at our phones, we are putting constant pressure on our nervous system, which controls and communicates with every system of the body via the nerves. The nerves run down the spine together as the spinal cord and branch at every level of the spine to reach their destination in the body. Just as pressure on the organs will dampen their function, pressure on the nervous system will not allow a clear connection from the brain to the body. The brain, spinal cord and nerves act as our computer system in order to interpret the state of the body. On the extreme, without a functioning nervous system we are left ‘brain-dead’.
That is where chiropractic can help! By correcting misalignments the body begin to function at a higher level. Posture starts to correct itself by increasing the body’s awareness of reestablishing proper biomechanics of the spine. It’s no wonder that patients often report positive results for “non-chiropractic” related issues, like indigestion, after the have sought care for neck and back pain.