As a society, in general our posture is declining. Posture is so important in keeping all the muscles and bones in the correct alignment. When this doesn’t occur it can lead to pain and injury with can mean a trip to the Physiotherapist.
Often, poor posture develops because of accidents or falls. But bad posture can also develop from environmental factors or bad habits. This means that you have control.
Today, posture-related problems are increasing. This is because-
We have become a society that watches more television than any previous generation;
We have become a more electronic society, with more and more people working at sedentary desk jobs or sitting in front of computer terminals;
More and more cars are crowding our roads, resulting in accidents and injuries;
And we drive in cars and sit in chairs with poorly designed seats.
Why is my posture bad?
In most cases, poor posture results from a combination of several factors, which can include:
- Accidents, injuries and falls,
- Poor sleep support (mattress) and positioning,
- Excessive weight,
- Visual or emotional difficulties,
- Foot problems or improper shoes,
- Weak muscles, muscle imbalance,
- Careless sitting, standing, sleeping habits,
- Negative self image,
- Occupational stress,
- Poorly designed work spaces.
Improving your posture.
Following are some simple ways of improving your posture.
When standing – hold your head high, chin firmly forward, shoulders back, chest out, and stomach tucked in to increase your balance. If you stand all day in a job, rest one foot on a stool or take breaks to get off your feet for a while.
When sitting – use a chair with firm low back support. Keep desk or table top elbow high, adjust the chair or use a footrest to keep pressure off the back of the legs, and keep your knees a little higher than your hips. Get up and stretch frequently–every hour if you sit for long periods of time.
When working on a computer – take a one or two minute task break every 20 minutes when you work at a computer screen. Keep the screen 15 degrees below eye level. Place reference materials on a copy stand even with and close to the terminal.
When sitting in the car – adjust the seat forward so your knees are lower than your hips. Put a small pillow or cushion in the small of your back.
When sleeping – sleep on your side with your knees bent and head supported by a pillow, to make your head level with your spine. Or, sleep on your back, avoiding thick pillows under your head. Use a small pillow under your neck instead. Don’t sleep on your stomach.
When lifting – let your legs do the work in order to prevent injury to your low back. Stand close to the object, then where possible squat down and straddle it. Grasp the object, and slowly lift the load by straightening your legs as you stand up. Carry the object close to your body.
When bending – never twist from the waist and bend forward at the same time. To lift or reach something on the floor, bend the knees while keeping the back straight.
Why is changing posture hard?
When trying to change your posture, sometimes it can feel a little odd. This is because your body has adapted too the bad posture and feels uncomfortable with the change. Don’t worry, we find at Glenferrie Sports and Spinal Clinic that as you persist with the new position, it will become the norm and the bad postures will begin to feel funny.
Physiotherapy for postural issues can involve muscle stretching and strengthening, education and ergonomic advice. There is no reason to have poor posture, take a look in the mirror and if you see your self slumping, give us a call .
Glenferrie Sports and Spinal Clinic is located in Hawthorn. Situated conveniently near public transport and with convenient parking it is central to Camberwell, Kew, Richmond, Toorak and Malvern.
For appointments call 03 9815 2555, or book online here