What is Posture & Can it be Corrected?
By Mikel Betancourt PTA
Why is Posture so Important?
Posture or positioning is something most people think about but do not practice. Habitually sitting with poor positioning ultimately puts a strain on the discs and ligaments in our back. Because of this they are stretched out and weakened, leading to degenerative changes and eventually back pain. Not only that, but poor posture can also affect things such as their breathing and balance.
How has Technology Affected our Posture?
Modern technology has made a significant impact on our overall health and wellbeing. The overuse of phones, tablets, computers, and television can encourage poor positioning to a certain extent if one is not aware of their posture in the first place. A sedentary lifestyle, or inactive lifestyle can have a huge impact on your postural position. Inactivity does not allow for someone’s muscles to be challenged let alone strengthened leading further into the postural rabbit hole.
How Body Weight Can Affect Your Posture
Weight is another important aspect that can affect our posture. Increased weight puts increased pressure on our joints which can lead to poor positions of comfort. Most of us do not often realize they have poor posture or do not know how to fix it.
What does it Mean to Have Good Posture?
First, we need to note what good posture looks like. In a clinical setting we would assess posture from either side using a vertical imaginary line, called a plumb line, to see if certain parts of your body are aligned. This line should pass through the lobe of the ear, the shoulder joint, the hip joint, through the greater trochanter of the femur, then slightly in front of the midline of the knee joint and lastly in front of the visible ankle bone.
While assessing from the front or back this line should bisect the body into two equal halves with even weight distributed. Once it has been determined where your body is misaligned at, then your therapist can focus on improving your specific limitations. Typically, improving posture involves strengthening the muscles that keep you upright.
How Posture is Corrected
Correcting posture naturally involves strengthening the stabilizing muscle groups that assist with keeping you upright. Your scapular, back, and core stabilizers are typically the muscle groups that need to be strengthened. This can be done through many exercises guided by your therapist to ensure target muscles are activated and challenged.
Bracing For Posture Correction
Postural braces can be a useful tool to improve someone’s postural awareness. Braces should not be a replacement for muscle strengthening since relief is only observed while the brace is on. Braces to help with positioning can help pull your shoulders back, stabilize your lower back and core, or a combination of both.
Written By: Mikel Betancourt PTA
Watch this video from JOI and JOI Rehabilitation: Neck Stretches for the Office
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