Is your posture good?

In this brief video topic, Dr. Castanet will show you how to use a wall or door to assess your posture. While body types differ, for most people, you should be able to stand with your heels, butt, back and head against a wall, while keeping you head straight. In older people, especially, you will often see a rounded, i.e. excessively kyphotic thoraic, i.e. upper back which protrudes their heads forward, making it impossible to touch the back of their head against the wall. Sometimes these people must extend their neck, looking upwards, to touch the back of the heads to the wall. In fact, people who slowly develop this deformity, usually develop excessive neck extension as a compensatory way to keep their heads level when they are standing or walking. Both the excessive back hump, i.e. kyphosis, and the excessive neck extension are pathological. These deformity changes cause problems with the spinal cord and nerve roots.

Is your posture good?

I have previously suggested that it is probably the use, or misuse, of pillows which is causing this typical, senescent deformity. So I highly recommend that humans stop using pillows to sleep. That includes all ages, both sexes, and whether lying supine, i.e. on your back, or on your side. I used to suggest people use a pillow when on their sides, but my personal experience suggests this is not necessary. And I have some concern that pillows when used in a lateral recumbent position, i.e. side-lying, may encourage people to lie more directly on their shoulder in such a way as to encourage, or cause, degeneration of their rotator cuffs. Now I think side-lying without a pillow might encourage people to sleep more obliquely, on the back of their shoulder, i.e. scapula. I’m not as convinced of the detriment of side-lying with a pillow, as I am of the detriment of lying on your back, supine, with a pillow. In fact, I can’t imagine that lying on your back, displacing your neck forward for a lifetime, can have any other than such a detrimental effect.

So use this flat wall test to evaluate your posture, and jettison the pillow.

If I can help you with your back or neck problem, call me at 404-558-4015.