Tid Bits of Info

  • Proper posture starts with the 3 curves of the spine that form a “reversed” S.
  • Sit on the two bones of the pelvis that are designed for the weight of the body and prevents “slouching.”
  • It has been suggested that proper posture can help you live longer because many of your bodily utilize less energy.
  • Poor posture can lead to restricted motion and weakness and in turn, make you more susceptible to falling.
  • Seek the advice and treatment from a Physical Therapist to develop and maintain proper posture

Human bodies are amazing in their ability to adjust, adapt, and complete all sorts of tasks and processes. This even includes concentrating on documents, emails, and other projects that may cause us to be glued to the computer screen all day. People who sit too much, look down all day or assume abnormal body positions to accomplish a task can place abnormal and even damaging forces on the joints and soft tissues of the body. Without proper posture, people often suffer from all sorts of pains.

When people visit a Physical Therapist and complain of back pain or neck pain or shoulder pain, posture is one thing that is assessed. There are studies that indicate that approximately 90% of the population will experience back pain at some point in their lifetime.  Empirically, nearly every person who has a job that requires extensive use of a computer complains of neck and shoulder pain at some time in their career.  Poor or improper posture is a key cause of pain of muscle and joint pain.

Having and maintaining “perfect” or proper posture is an extremely difficult task.  We have to work at it throughout the day, or we will assume a posture that places abnormal stress as strain on a particular body part which can lead to a bodily response that causes pain.  If a body part is placed in a shortened or lengthened position for an excessive amount of time, the body will attempt to correct that positioning and this can cause the muscles and joints to ache and eventually cause a great deal of pain.

Perfect posture!  What is it?

When the human skeleton is in proper posture the joints and soft tissues of the body are placed in a position that optimizes the body’s ability to withstand the forces that act on it.  Proper posture puts the body in a position that will enable the muscles to generate a great amount of force that is needed to move or stabilize the joints of the body while utilizing the least amount of energy.  This position is required for the body to effectively move throughout the day without experiencing a great deal of fatigue and eventually the onset of pain.

Correct posture begins with the position of head and spine. The side view of the spine should look like a reversed “C ” at the neck and low back.  The ears, shoulders, hips, side of the knees and ankle bones should be aligned and if these body parts do not “line-up” there will be a pre-disposition to an injury due to an abnormal increase in gravitational forces.

The “reverse C” shape of the neck and low back must be maintained to remain in proper posture.  All too often the neck and low back “round out” in the opposite direction which shortens structures on the front of the body and lengthens the ones on the back of the body.  If the posture is not corrected and these structures remain in a shortened or lengthened position for too long, they will begin to hurt.  Many of the “knots” that we feel in our muscles are directly related to the abnormal length that a particular muscle assumes when someone does not maintain proper posture.

Physical Therapists are capable of assessing your posture and helping you correct it if you are not maintaining proper posture during all of your daily activities.  These licensed healthcare professionals will evaluate you and develop an exercise program that will be specific to you and address the imbalances that you have developed while you were not maintaining proper posture.  In most instances, the shortened structures have to be stretched and strengthened while the focus of the exercise routine for the elongated structures must be strengthening.  Correcting the length of the different structures of the body is the only way to regain proper posture.

Not maintaining proper posture at all times can lead to very common painful conditions.  Some posture issues include the following: rounded shoulder posture can lead to shoulder pain; forward head posture can lead to “knots” in the upper back and neck muscles’ and sitting for prolonged periods of time can produce very tight hip flexor muscles and taut hamstrings.  The treatment for all of these conditions is a basic stretching and strengthening program.

Seeking the advice and treatment from a Physical Therapist is easy and does not require a doctor’s prescription.  Your insurance company might require you to get a referral from your general practitioner.

Proper posture is one of the most important keys to feeling good.  Maintaining it is a difficult thing.  Seek the advice of a Physical Therapist and learn the proper exercises that will enable you to remain in a good postural position regardless of your activity.