What is posture?
Posture can be defined as the position in which we hold our body whilst standing, sitting or lying down.
What affects posture?
There are many internal and external forces that affect your posture; gravity, muscular strength and tension, obesity, pregnancy, stress, poor seat position and desk ergonomics.
What are the consequences of poor posture?
- Low back pain
- Neck pain
- Shoulder pain
All of these problems are as a result of muscular imbalances in and around the spine and pelvis.
Why has posture become such a big problem?
As a sports massage therapist, I will try to break down and analyse a patients day into standing, sitting and lying. With most patients presenting postural problems, out of 24 hours, approximately 8 hours are spent lying (sleeping), 14 hours sitting (breakfast table, desk, car, dining table, sofa), 2 hours standing. After hundreds of thousands of years evolving, the modern day man is devolving back to a slumped position.
What can be done to improve posture?
Move more – regularly use and stretch the joints and muscles to their full range of motion, particularly the spine and hips.
If you work at a desk or drive a lot, make sure your setup is ergonomically efficient.
Don’t cross your legs when sitting.
Keep your weight primarily on the balls of your feet.
Keep both knees slightly bent.
Draw your stomach muscles in and squeeze your glutes.
Keep your chest bone up and shoulders open.
Maintain length in your back in neck.
Find the mattress that suits you. While a firmer mattress is generally recommended, it may not suit everyone. Some prefer a softer mattress and find that it gives them less back pain.
Use the correct pillow for you sleeping position. Depending on whether you are side sleeper or back sleeper, you may want a slightly different pillow.
If you are suffering any pain that may be posture related, you may draw significant benefit from sports massage. As part of a sports massage session, your posture will be assessed, the compromised muscles will be treated and some specific stretches and exercises will be recommended to help you manage the problem. If you are not able to make the required lifestyle changes to stop the problem from returning, it will be recommended that you have some maintenance based treatment to help the on-going management of the issue.