The Importance of Posture
Physical Therapist Loren Middag shares the Top 14 Best Posture Tips.
From the moment you adopt good posture you will feel an improvement in the way you carry yourself.
Proper posture can help with the following:
- The nervous system and muscular system will communicate more efficiently.
- You will be able to use your muscles more efficiently, because your bones and joints will be in the correct alignment. This will result in less fatigue, as your body will require less energy to move around.
- Proper mechanics of the joint (your joints don’t wear abnormally, which can lead to arthritis).
- Your risk of many neck and back problems will be minimized.
- Prevention of your spine becoming fixed in an abnormal position. This can lead to constricted blood vessels and nerves, and problems with muscles, discs and joints, which can lead to headaches, fatigue and even problems with organs and breathing.
- Less stress on the ligaments holding the spine’s joints together.
Here is a term we explain in detail to all of our patients at Marketplace Physical Therapy San Bernardino. Pattern overload means that we are consistently repeating the same pattern of motion which may place abnormal stresses on the body.
Here are a few examples:
I’m sitting at the desk with the computer screen to the left or right, which forces my neck to turn ever so slightly as I work. This seems like such a harmless thing, however, day after day this puts my spine out of alignment, forcing my spinal muscles to tighten, causing muscular imbalances and eventually putting me into abnormal posture. Years go by and I can’t seem to figure out why my neck hurts so badly or why I am experiencing regular migraine headaches. So, I begin taking medication to get rid of the pain.
In order to relieve this pain, all I need to do is perform the proper flexibility training and put my computer screen at a better location on my desk.
I am a stay-at-home mom and bend down to pick up toys and kids all day. Bending down incorrectly and picking my children and toys up is going to also cause pattern ovedrload over the course of time. Again, I may not feel the efects of it until years down the road. It may start with a mild pain in my lower back, but eventually lead to extreme lower back pain and severe pain down my leg.
To correct this problem I must perform proper flexibility training on my tight, overused muscles, learn how to properly bend down and pick things up, and strengthen the weaker muscles in my body to prevent muscular imbalances.
I’m on the road a lot driving from appointment to appointment getting in and out of my car multiple times per day. I’m experiencing sharp pains in my hip, knee and lower back and can’t figure out why. I always focus on good posture, sitting up straight while I’m driving, and even stretch regularly. After further review of my day I realize that it is the “Pattern Overload” of getting in my car that is causing these joints to ache. Every time I get in my car, I plant my left foot on the ground, lift my right let into the car, bend down at my waist, and twist at my knee and hip to tweak my body just right so I can get down into my seat. I repeat this pattern at least ten times per day.
Before I sit, I turn my entire body so that my back is facing my seat, I bend at my knees, rather than my waist to get down into my seat. Once I am seated, I then turn my body so that it is facing forward. After just one week of performing this technique, my knee, hip, and back pain has all reduced.
Good Posture Tips While Sitting
1. Keep both feet flat on the floor (if your feet cannot reach the floor, adjust the chair or use a footrest).
2. Align your back with the back of the chair.
3. Don’t slouch or lean forward.
4. Adjust the chair so your knees are even with your hips, or slightly higher, and your arms are at a 75 – 90 degree angle at the elbows (if at the computer).
5. Keep your shoulders straight.
6. Clear obstacles
7. Choose an ergonomic office chair with good back support.
8. Get up often and stretch.
Good Posture Tips While Standing
1. Keep your weight on the balls of your feet, not your heels
2. Let your arms hang naturally by your side
3. Keep feet about shoulder-width apart.
4. Don’t lock your knees.
5. Keep your head level and in line with your neck and spine, not pushed forward.
6. Keep your shoulders upright and stand up straight.
Why We Stress Posture:
At Marketplace Physical Therapy your Physical Therapist will stress the importance of proper posture during your exercise and therapy sessoins as well as every day activities. If you are exercising with weights or resistance bands, you are strengthening your muscles in whatever position you are in at the moment of resistance. For example, if your shoulders are hunched over during a specific exercise, your shoulders will become stronger in that position which, over time, puts excess strain on your neck and back. Therefore, it is vital to remember proper posture expecially during your workouts. Your therapist and trainer will help you with this.
For our Physical Therapist to personally guide you through these concepts give us a call at 951.684.2874 to set up a free consultation.