Posture in Nursing: To bend or not to bend, that is the question

Have you ever wondered if your posture affects your mental state? If you’re curious about the inner-workings of posture-related moods, you’re in the right place.

Pathways, a magazine that focuses on healthy family living, published an article covering the impact our posture has on us in life, most pressingly, how much it affects us while breastfeeding.

Posture is largely assumed to be a physical state, something to stay on top of for appearance and respect. But it goes beyond that.

As Pathways puts it: “When a person’s sympathetic nervous system activates, it’s well known that the body physically prepares by rounding the shoulders, moving the head forward, and tensing the backs of the legs in the fight-or-flight response. What’s less known is that when we round the shoulders and drop the head forward, even in a state of calm relaxation, the spine sends messages to the brain that mimic that fight-or-flight alert. In short, our physical posture can affect our nervous system, just the same as our nervous system affects physical posture in moments of real stress.

Our body language translates hormones and adrenaline in different ways through our bodies based on how we hold ourselves.

When women are nursing, most bend their heads forward, curl their shoulders in, and put stress across their shoulders. This sends a signal of distress across the body and may trigger the fight or flight response in the brain.

Having irregular moods when mothering is no random occurrence. The situations that mothers are in indirectly result in changed behavior and altered brain chemistry.

But there is no reason to fear this. It may seem impossible to overcome the out-of-breath, on edge feelings that come with mothering and find balance. But you can. And, a simple way to start regaining your peace is by changing your posture.

Pathways offer an example of one way to do that: “While feeding or holding your child, sit or stand tall, with your chest open and shoulders down and back. There should be a sensation of the body, lengthening upward and expanding outward, with the torso resting on a balanced pelvis and secure lower back.

Even beyond that exercise, remember to pay attention to your body and the signals you’re sending to it. Each posture we take on says something about where we are and how we feel. Sometimes, the signals get crossed. You have the power to straighten them out.

Chiropractic care is an ideal way to start reprogramming your posture and finding your balance again.

Stand tall!

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