In this world of technology and sedentary lifestyles, posture plays a big role in how we function and move. Think about the last time you saw your posture in the mirror and how you immediately corrected yourself to look taller, slimmer and fitter. We fight the good fight against gravity 24 hours a day and it is up to our muscles and skeletal structure to keep our posture in proper alignment. It is important to note that bad posture is associated with many health problems and orthopedic injuries.
Poor posture contributes to:
- Back pain and neck pain
- Headaches and migraines
- Changes in breathing patterns affecting your blood chemistry
- Poor digestion
- Difficulty walking
- Poor balance
- Lack of endurance
- Poor athletic performance
Why you slouch
You have different muscles in your core and deep spine that help you maintain a more upright posture. These muscles are used for long duration contractions to keep your body properly aligned. However, like with all muscles, the less you use them, the more they atrophy and the less they can do their job. With today’s sedentary lifestyles, sitting at work, driving in the car, watching TV, etc., these muscles become weaker and weaker.
What you should do
- Be more aware of your posture throughout the day and take frequent breaks to move around, be taller, re-adjust your seat.
- Work on exercises that strengthen your core muscles and your mid back muscles.
- Do stretching exercises with your back on a wall or lying flat on the ground, moving your arms overhead.
- Walk or run everyday, trying to be as tall as possible while doing so.
- Be more conscious of your breathing during the day. Take deep breathes in a better posture, which helps to mobilize your spine.
- Evaluate your workspace. Is it set up correctly? Is your computer in front of you or off to the side? Is your chair high enough?
- Avoid soft couches and recliners for long durations, these cause poor posture.
- Sleep on your back or side with pillows between or behind your knees depending on your position. Try to sleep as flat as possible with one pillow behind your head if possible.
Why you should see a physical therapist
When it comes to posture and the movement mechanics of your body, no one is more qualified than a physical therapist to help you.
In physical therapy we evaluate your body mechanics, posture, strength and mobility to evaluate what is needed for you to have better posture. We then custom tailor a plan that will pinpoint what you need to improve your posture, and relieve your pain quickly. We teach you the right exercises to perform that will put you on the path to a pain free life with terrific posture!