Posture is the term referring to the position that you hold your body upright against gravity. More specifically it relates to how your ‘postural muscles’ interact together to support your body, ensuring good balance whilst performing everyday tasks such as walking, standing, lifting or sitting.
The spinal column is made up of bones called vertebrae and shock absorbing intervertebral discs. It is designed to provide optimal motion and support for bodily movements in a controlled supportive manner. The spine has 4 natural curves
- A lordotic curve in the Neck (cervical spine)
- A kyphotic curve in the chest (thoracic spine)
- A lordotic curve in the lower back (lumbar spine)
- A kyphotic curve in the sacral spine
This set up in the spine is considered the ideal alignment, which helps to provide a stable balanced spine, meaning less stress on supporting structures. If however, the curves are too large or too little, or do not balance with each other, this can lead to excessive strain on the supporting structures resulting in neck or back pain and potential injury.
Everybody ‘learns’ their current posture. It is something that happens over a long time, and is thus difficult to change in a short period of time. However, with conscious correction and practice, bad postural habits can be corrected. It is important to recognize if poor posture is present, and if it is contributing to any physical problems so that it can be addressed early.
Some of the consequences of poor posture include:
- Neck and back pain or stiffness
- Referred pain to the shoulders, arms, hands, buttocks, legs or feet.
- Muscle strain and fatigue
- Muscle imbalances with muscle tightness and weakness
- Headaches and dizziness
- Breathing difficulties
- Intervertebral disc bulges or prolapse
- Spinal joint pain or stiffness
- Neural tension or nerve root compromise causing other sensations such as pins and needles or numbness.
- Reduced movement
The most common reason of poor posture is bad habits throughout the day such as the way your work station is set up, technique in performing a task or sport, or the shoes, chair, bed or pillow you use. Your PPS Physiotherapist can help identify any postural abnormalities or factors that may be contributing to or predispose you to injury.
At PPS physiotherapy we use the ‘Posture Pro Analysis Program’. This program uses a camera that captures your current body position, and analyses this information to provide an accurate measurement of your posture. Using this information, your PPS physiotherapist can produce a treatment plan to help you achieve your ideal posture. This includes:
- Massage and spinal manipulations or mobilizations
- An exercise program to address muscle inbalances by strengthening weak muscles, and lengthening short or tight muscles.
- Core motor control exercises to strengthen your supporting muscles such as your abdominals and back extensors
- Ergonomic set up advice for your work station
- Education on correct walking, sitting, or lifting posture
- Orthotics to address any abnormal foot positions that may be contributing to your poor posture
- Rigid taping for mechanical feedback to your posture position during the day
- Bracing or seat pillows to help maintain your natural spinal curves
- Core neck exercises to prevent neck pain, headaches or dizziness.
- Advice for your pillow for a good night sleep
- Posture pro analysis for continual re-assessment of your posture, so that you know you are improving.