Is poor posture making you feel bad?

Everybody knows that poor posture can contribute to physical pain. It can also negatively affect your appearance – it can make you look older, less fit and less attractive.

As we discussed in a recent blog post, posture also plays an important role in how people make assessments about you and your personality. Posture can be the difference between being seen as weak or powerful, timid or confident, and desirable or not.

But aside from the messages your posture sends to other people, have you ever stopped to think about what messages your posture is sending to you? Yes, your posture can have a direct impact on how you feel about yourself and your internal dialogue. It can literally make you feel bad.


Power posture

appearance-posture-spineandhealth-northsydney-crowsnest-chiropractor-sydneyResearch over the past ten or so years is consistently demonstrating that tweaking your posture can actually change your emotions. In her TED talk, Harvard researcher Amy Cuddy, explains how if you adopt the body language of looking powerful and confident, you will actually feel more powerful and confident – and it even influences your hormones.

When investigating the question of whether or not our bodies influence our minds, Cuddy discovered that changing posture has an impact on two key hormones: testosterone, which is the dominance hormone, and cortisol, which is the stress hormone. So by changing our posture, Cuddy found that is possible both to make ourselves feel more powerful as testosterone levels increased, AND so called ‘power postures’ also reduced cortisol levels, meaning that people were better able to react and respond to stress.


Straighten up and lift that self-belief

goodposture-spineandhealth-northsydney-crowsnest-chiropractor-sydneyThese findings are supported by other research also. A study at Ohio State University found that people who were told to sit up straight were more likely to believe thoughts that they wrote down while in that posture concerning whether they were qualified for a job. Study co-author Richard Petty, a professor of psychology at Ohio State University, said that, “People assume their confidence is coming from their own thoughts. They don’t realise their posture is affecting how much they believe in what they are thinking.”


Another study suggested that an upright posture can also boost your ability to recall positive thoughts and have a stronger self-image.



See what not slumping can do for your mood


Researchers in New Zealand strapped 74 people into assigned postures with tape, and measured blood pressure and heart rates as they completed a series of tasks designed to assess their mood, self-esteem and stress levels. According to the study authors, upright participants reported feeling more enthusiastic, excited and strong, while slumped participants reported feeling fearful, hostile, nervous, quiet, passive, dull, sleepy and sluggish.


At Spine and Health, we see the evidence every day of the difference good posture can make to quality of life. Improving your posture reduces pain and helps to prevent unnecessary injuries. It helps you to look, move and live better. And now, a growing body of evidence is demonstrating that good posture can help you to be happier and more confident too.

We’d love to chat about how we can help you to improve your posture and see how much better your life can be. Give us a call today to book an appointment with a chiroprator in our North Sydney or Crows Nest clinics.

Migraine – a neurological disease

According to the International istock_migraine2Headache Society, and as stated by Headache Australia, one can be classified as suffering from a migraine when over a period of 4-72hrs the following occurs (1):

Pain classification: (minimum of 2)
– one sided
– moderate to severe
– throbbing
– aggravated by movement

Concomitant symptoms: (minimum of 1)
– nausea
– vomiting
– photophobia (sensitivity to light)
– phonophobia (sensitivity to sound)
– osmophobia (sensitivity to smell)

More concomitant symptoms:
– aura (visual disturbances such as bright zigzag lines, flashing lights, difficulty in focusing or blind spots lasting 20-45 minutes)
– difficulty in concentrating, confusion
– a feeling of being generally extremely unwell
– problems with articulation or co-ordination
– diarrhoea
– stiffness of the neck and shouldes,
– tingling, pins and needles or numbness or even one-sided limb (1).

There are many different types of migraines and they are not entirely understood in the medical world. What is being discovered is that they are not all just exacerbated tension-type headaches. Migraines are a neurological disease that can involve the over-activity of the trigeminal nerve.

The trigeminal nerve is a cranial nerve, which has 3 branches to innervate the face (in general terms, one to cover the forehead area, one to cover the area across the nose and between the temples, and the last one to cover the lower jaw). All 3 branches of the trigeminal nerve are sensory but the 3rd is also involved in motor function. The mandibular branch of the trigeminal nerve is responsible for the motor activity of the muscles of chewing, talking, and also for the tympanic membrane in the ear. If the trigeminal nerve is overactive or has pressure placed on it, it can cause migraines – huge facial pain, pain behind the eyes, temples and so on.

The current medical approach is to attempt to inhibit the trigeminal nerve with intense drugs or invasive surgical techniques. We as chiropractors view this as a last resort and believe that if your body is not in correct alignment then signals from your nervous system may not be communicated properly. Ie. If you have a full functioning nervous system then your body should be able to inhibit these signals itself. If you have poor posture then it is likely that your nervous system is not functioning as well as it could or should.

Current research shows that the chiropractic spinal adjustment can reset muscle behaviour patterns by sending signals to the brain via the nervous system (2). And by stimulating the nervous system the chiropractic adjustment can improve the function of the whole body (2).

If you suffer from migraines it is recommended that you visit your local chiropractor and have your posture assessed. The Spine and Health Chiropractors are the experts in pain and posture and have the ability to conduct a Digital Postural Analysis in their Crows Nest or North Sydney clinics. In doing so they will be able to establish if you have a postural issue that may be the cause of any pain you are feeling. Together you can construct an action plan to give you symptomatic relief, improve your posture and overall well-being. To look better, move better, feel better contact the team today.

Crows Nest                Ph 9460 8459
North Sydney            Ph 9955 8055 


(1) Headache Australia
(2) Haavik Taylor H and Murphy B. (2007). World Federation of Chiropractic’s 9th Biennial Congress Award Winning Paper (3rd Prize): Altered sensorimotor integration with cervical spine manipulation. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, in press.