Posture: More Than Just “Sitting Up Straight”
Remember those school teachers who often reminded you to “Sit up straight!” while shaking a ruler in your direction? Turns out they may have been doing you a favor. Poor posture often leads to a number of impairments that cause unnecessary pain – and correcting that posture often requires more than just the conscious effort to “sit up straight”.
Maintaining proper posture requires endurance-type muscles to provide stability to your skeleton. If these muscles are weak or unable to function properly, they allow you to “slouch”, placing stress on joints and other tissue. Other muscles may be too tight, disrupting your alignment or aggravating other nearby structures. For example, poor posture might cause a painful condition known as Sciatica or Piriformis Syndrome. It can even lead to decreased mobility in some joints.
Poor posture can cause:
- Low back pain
- Pain in hips, legs, shoulder, neck, etc.
- Numbness and tingling
- Loss of motion
How do I fix my posture?
Great question. Improving your posture starts with being more aware of your posture. It’s important to know that the human body was not designed for prolonged sitting. Our bodies are intended to move! Start by simply getting out of your chair more often throughout the day. Set a timer to alert you every 30 minutes to simply stand up – you can stretch, walk around the room, say hello to your neighbor. Just make sure to take more opportunities to get out of a seated position. You might even find you have more energy and are more productive!
How can physical therapy help?
Physical Therapists are clinical professionals with expert knowledge of the human body. An evaluation can help identify barriers within your own body that are hindering you from more easily maintaining proper posture. A skilled physical therapist can help address these impairments and work with you to design a home exercise program that will lead you to move without pain or discomfort.
For more information, or to schedule your own physical therapy evaluation, call Chatham Hospital Rehabilitation Services in Siler City (919-799-4690) or Pittsboro (984-215-3260).
Submitted by Christopher Hope, Licensed Physical Therapist