What is posture?
The body works best when the joints and muscles aren’t in an extreme position for a prolonged period of time. Good posture is when the body is sharing the stresses well through the system
We have warning systems that tell us to move – that feeling of being uncomfortable. If we adopt a position regularly it becomes normalised and we tend to stop listening to the feelings of discomfort and fail to move. We learn a new normal and muscles become stretched and weak as others become tight.
First is seeing that you’re alignment is not as it used to be. We see bad posture in others but can be surprised at how we sit etc when we see a photo or reflection of ourselves. The head can jut forward and the upper spine stoop; the belly can sag forward. Get someone to take a photo of you when you’re at your laptop or ipad and you’re not aware- it can be quite shocking.
It doesn’t look healthy and strong and it certainly leads to problems of pain. Our tolerance of bad posture can continue for years and then we can suddenly develop pain, even severe pain.
Secondly, it’s hard to change habits but repetition is key. Practising good posture frequently leads to the body resetting a new normal.
Exercises will target tight muscles allowing you to lengthen out and open up. Strengthening exercises will enable you to hold your body upright more easily so it doesn’t feel like a battle.
Thirdly -Patience is key. As children we naturally fidget and move and we are taught to sit still and over-ride this to conform from school age. As physios we have to teach people to move frequently and react to stillness.
Bad posture can lead to head pain, back and neck pain, shoulder problems. People come for a solution to pain when the problem has been building up perhaps for years.
ACTION – sit up now. Roll your pelvis back to sit on your bottom and your spine will flex and your neck shorten. Now roll your body weight forwards past your sitting bones and your back will over arch and you ribs flare forwards. Neither of these extremes are helpful. Find the mid position, lengthen your neck at the back and grow tall from the crown of the head. Breathe in to your abdomen and exhale feeling your stomach tighten a little.
You should feel that you can move and not feel fixed or bracing. Adopt this position frequently and breathe here for 10 steady breaths.