Posture is defined as “the position or bearing of the body whether characteristic or assumed for a special purpose.”This definition describes posture as dynamic; our body position change based on our actions and our moods. Posture is influenced by external factors, such as gravity, our jobs, and our hobbies. It is also influenced by internal factors such as our genetics, our muscle tone, muscle imbalances, fascial tightness and joint restrictions. Habitual postures over time contribute to back pain or neck pain.
If you sustain an improper posture for a long period of time, your body adapts to this position. Muscles and fascia lengthen or shorten accordingly, and therefore become weak and / or tight. Joints are also affected and can be come tight (hypomobile) or too loose (hypermobile). These changes are cumulative and can lead to pain over time.
For a health care practitioners, posture is anatomical: “the ideal skeletal alignment…involves a minimal amount of stress and strain, and is conducive to maximal efficiency of the body.” The first step in correcting posture is awareness. By decreasing the forces placed on your muscles and joints, you can prevent and alleviate symptoms. The concept here is “neutral position” or “neutral spine”. In this context, you don’t want to be at an end range of motion of your joints, ligaments and tendons. During good posture, our spine maintains its normal inward and outward curves. The goal is to maintain these normal curves when we are sitting and standing.
The most common defect in the neck is forward head position. The most common error in sitting posture is slumping or increased kyphosis. In the low back, you will most likely see an increased arch due to weak abdominals. If you look closely at one’s posture, you will notice that multiple defects often appear together.
Bad posture is a bad habit that can be reversed. It will take time for your body to learn this new position, however ideal posture is imperative to decrease the stresses on your muscles and joints. Come in for an assessment, and I can assess your posture and give corrective exercises to stretch and strengthen the appropriate areas for your unique posture.
If you have any questions or would like help improving your posture, call L A R Physical Therapy at 410.381.1574 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment.