The human spine is like a puzzle. Every unit, every joint, is connected in a way that they all come together to allow us to do the required movements at our more peripheral levels.
Let’s do an exercise – try to take a deep breath sitting as you are (assuming you are relaxed in your chair/bed/couch). Now, take a deep breath and straighten up your spine as you do it. There will be a noticeable difference between the length of your breath. That is because when we extend our spine, we give ourselves room to take in a deeper breath. There are many such examples where spinal mobility enhances the mobility of your arms or legs. Hence, it is very important to maintain the health of your spine to function, and our posture plays a major role in that!
Good posture involves perfect balance between the various muscle groups in your back. It enhances the natural spinal curve, which is similar to an ‘S-shaped’ curve, ensuring that all the segments of the spine are in perfect harmony with the muscles and ligaments, giving you good range of movement within the spine. In general, good posture also improves your overall well-being and has a positive impact on your body image.
There are several different types of bad postures. In general, poor posture means that there is a lot of unnatural stress on the muscles and other soft tissue around your spine, affecting the natural curve. Over time, continuous poor posture leads to some permanent changes affecting your back and entire spine. In extreme cases, it can also lead to general imbalance and pain in the neighboring joints such as your shoulder or hip.
A few types of common postural imbalances include:
- Flat back
- Sway back
- Forward head posture
Common Symptoms of Poor Posture
Some very common symptoms reported by patients with poor posture include:
- Pain in the neck
- Back pain
- Reduced flexibility in neck and back
- Muscular pain
- Focal tender points along major muscles
- General fatigue
- Reduced muscle endurance
What Should I Do?
A very common culprit of poor postural habit is your work station. Make sure that your work station is ergonomically inclined to suit your height. Your arms must be resting, your wrists must be supported, and your desktop or monitor should be slightly below your eye level.
Another very effective way to improve your posture is to take frequent breaks from prolonged sitting or standing and consciously straighten yourself up.
How Can a Physiotherapist Help?
A physiotherapist (PT) will do a thorough postural assessment for you in all positions and also an assessment of your work station to find out the contributors to your posture.
A major part of treatment includes education and lifestyle modifications to help you become aware of the deviations in your posture and correct them. A PT will also devise a treatment protocol which includes manual therapy as well as therapeutic modalities to relieve your pain.
A few interventions strategies include:
- Modalities like ultrasound, TENS, and shockwave therapy
- Stretching techniques for tight muscles
- Strengthening program for weak muscles
- Postural training
- Core muscle training and strengthening
All treatment protocols will aim at making you aware of the difference between and ideal posture and a deviated posture to help you analyze the factors that are affecting your posture and train you to recognize them and make appropriate changes.
So if you are having pain in your back, are concerned about your posture, or even want advice on your work station, book an appointment with your PT and take charge!
Footprint Health and Wellness Centre is a multi-disciplinary clinic located in South Barrie, offering chiropody, physiotherapy, and massage therapy services. Book your appointment now!
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