We’ve all heard commands to, “sit up” or “stand up straight,” in our lifetimes, and while we momentarily become aware of our posture, it’s only seconds before we’re back to slouching. Abnormal posture is one of the leading causes of back, neck and shoulder pain that could be easily avoided by changing a few small aspects of daily activity.
What is Posture?
Posture is the position in which you hold your body upright against gravity. Good posture involves training your body to stand, walk, sit and lie in positions where the least strain is placed on supporting muscles and ligaments during movement or weight-bearing activities
For 2015, resolve to improve your posture daily by following these simple tips:
- Sit with feet flat to the floor with hips and knees at 90 degrees; back straight, shoulders down and back, and your buttocks should touch the back of your chair.
- Place a small towel roll, pillow or lumbar support at the level of your low back to help you maintain the normal curves in your back.
- Bring computer keyboards closer and eliminate reaching while working at the desk.
- It is always a good idea to alter your position every 20 to 30 minutes (re-adjust and re-assess).
When Lying Down:
- Always maintain a neutral spine. Neutral spine is the ability to hold your spine in a more efficient position without over extension of the low back. The body’s neutral spine has a slight inward curvature in the cervical spine, slight outward curve in the thoracic spine, and another slight inward curve in the lumbar spine.
- Pillows should not be too fluffy or too flat.
- Try a roll or neck support pillow to work with the curve of your cervical spine and give you added support.
- Keep joints and bones in correct alignment with movement and lifting to ensure proper use of muscles and decreased stress on joints and ligaments.
To maintain good posture you should start by strengthening your core (abdominal muscles), back muscles, and hips/gluts. By strengthening your major support musculature you will decrease the stress on joints, bones and ligaments resulting in less pain. Not to mention that it will help you get toned.
Here are just a few benefits from using good posture:
- Decreases the stress on the ligaments of the spine
- Prevents strain or overuse problems
- Prevents spine fixation in abnormal positions.
- Prevents fatigue because of more efficient use of muscles
- Prevents backache and muscular pain.
Posture is not a quick fix, but with changing habits, strengthening and retraining your body this year, you can prevent problems before they start.
Need a posture assessment or exercises to strengthen your core?
Sign up for a free assessment below!
Rebecca McCloskey, PT, DPT
Latest posts by Rebecca McCloskey, PT, DPT (see all)
- The Step by Step Guide to Pediatric Milestones - July 19, 2016
- Pineapple Kale Smoothie: Increase the Greens & Decrease the Cals - April 12, 2016
- The Benefits of Sunshine: Why You Should Spend Time Outside - September 8, 2015
- Protein Powder Remix: Pancakes - March 3, 2015
- Posture Resolutions - January 22, 2015