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  • Writer's pictureJemima Barbetti

Correct your Posture & Wind Down your Nervous System.

Role of spine

The spine is one of the most important structures in the body. It not only protects the spinal cord, nerves, and some organs but it also provides structural support to maintain body posture. This balance between joints, ligaments and muscles enables us to sit, stand, twist and bend freely throughout life.

What does poor posture do to your nervous system?

Sitting or standing with tense rounded shoulders and your head slumped forward triggers a sympathetic response in the nervous system. This stress response can be useful in dangerous situations as it prepares the body to fight or flight but can be harmful when it is activated all the time. This postural wind-up can happen while sitting at a desk, driving a car, using your phone or other electronic devices.

Longstanding poor posture causes postural wind up which can disrupt the feedback loop between brain and body. A prolonged surge of information from the sympathetic nervous system can overwhelm the brain and confuse it. This can distort the messages that come back from the body to the brain and vice versa. Resulting in functional changes like muscle aches and pains, headaches, digestive problems, hormonal imbalances, emotional disorders, and a lowered immune system.

How to correct posture

Correct posture not only decreases the compressive load on the spine but also helps unwind the nervous system. You can improve your posture by strengthening the muscles that support your upper back and shoulder blades. Dumbbells, resistance bands and even body weight can be useful when targeting these muscles.

Stretching is equally important as strengthening and needs to focus on the front of your body. Opening your chest, it helps to relax your neck and chest musculature. This allows for better oxygenation and nerve flow. Try a thoracic extension stretch using a posture pole or read our blog on ‘Wellness tips while sitting at a desk’ for other ways to reset your posture.

Posture pole exercise

A posture pole is a long half-foam roller which can be laid on to correct your posture and stretch your chest and back. It uses gravity to open your chest and allows you to focus on your breathing.

- Simply lay on the vertically positioned pole (or rolled up towel) so that it runs down your spine

- Make sure your head and pelvis are supported on the pole

- Then bend your knees and place your feet slightly apart for balance

- Let your arms hang by your side with palms facing upwards (you should feel a stretch through your upper chest and back)

- Start by lying for 3-5 minutes once or twice a day and work up to 15 minutes

- When you have finished roll to one side of the pole to get off

Lying on a posture pole (or rolled up towel) once to twice a day can help reduce tension, increase flexibility, and allow your body to relax. Restoring balance to your spine makes it easier to maintain good posture and unwind your nervous system.


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