The word “posture” is something everyone has heard about at one point in our lives. Most of us were told as children by our parents to sit up straight. At the time it may have seemed like something our parents said or in most cases something we liked to selectively hear from our parents. Little did we know then that good posture is something that will help improve our overall health and well being. In order to truly understand what posture is, we must understand how posture works.
Our skeleton is designed to hold up our body without spending much energy even with the pull of gravity. If we use poor posture, our muscles have to perform the job of the skeleton. This requires them to burn energy needlessly but more importantly, prevents us from using them in their primary purpose which is to move the body into different positions. When we move, most of us do so inefficiently. This requires greater energy, resulting in excess muscle tension. When this tension stays around for hours or we experience it day after day, we often develop some movement related problem. Our aches and pains restrict us, not only at work but at home, too.
As children, we were flexible and most movements were not harmful. But as we grew older and participated in certain activities, the body was set up to take on certain postures. Performed repetitively, these postures overused certain muscles, weakened others, and led to an altered sense of body awareness and proper alignment. All of which are precursors to a back injury.
Every day at some point we all suffer from displaying poor posture. This may lead to many different medical conditions and if we all just made the effort to be aware of this may cut down on a lot of our pain problems. In order to correct bad postural position, we need to understand what good posture is and how to maintain it. As most of us know, good posture does not necessarily mean standing erect. Good posture is awareness of where your spine needs to be and maintaining it in a variety of different positions. It is having balance within the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar curvatures of the spine. The size and degree of those curves vary from person to person, but the bottom line is that these curves need to be in as much balance as possible in standing, sitting, and lying down.
This blog was written by SWOPT physical therapy assistant, Pierre. If you have back pain of any kind. Go to your doctor and ask if physical therapy can help you. If so, tell your doctor you want to go to SWOPT!