Originally posted on February 13, 2015 at http://physiocanhelp.ca/posture-a-patient-info-sheet/
Having good posture not only makes you look strong and healthy — it’s also a critical factor in preventing pain and injuries. For recreational activities like golf, skating, yoga or running, posture actually plays an important role in performance. And posture is critical in preventing workplace injuries that come from repetitive stress, or sitting at a desk in front of a computer all day. In all these cases, physiotherapists can help you discover how to improve your posture.
Who are Physiotherapists?
Physiotherapists are university trained medical professionals qualified to assess and treat the conditions that are affecting the body’s movement system and function, and prescribe therapeutic exercise to sustain improved mobility. They are experts at correcting posture and help treat and prevent posture-related injuries that can impair mobility.
How Physiotherapists Help Posture-related Injuries
Correcting posture can help you recover from — and prevent — a variety of injuries. It’s also one of the most important factors to consider when you’re starting a new or different fitness program, to maximize your body’s natural function and minimize the risk of injury. Physiotherapists use a variety of techniques — including balance exercises, stability balls, stretches and other movement therapies — to improve posture and bring a patient’s body back to its full functional equilibrium.
Vary position at work. Sitting at computers and desks all day puts increased pressured on your spine. After 30 minutes of sitting, you should get up and walk around to keep the flow of blood and fluids to the spine. If possible, you can try setting up a standing workstation to vary position while working at a computer. Your physiotherapist will prescribe suitable and safe stretches or “pause exercises” and provide tips on how to correctly position oneself in front of the computer.
Stay flexible. Optimal spinal health means having flexibility in all directions. If your thorax has limited rotation movement, more load and stress can be transferred to one’s low back, neck or other body parts. Check your rotation by sitting in a chair with your arms crossed across their stomach; you should be able to turn equally to the right and left and see behind yourself easily. If you an asymmetry between the right and left directions, or reduced motion in either direction, your physiotherapist can assess the reason why, mobilize spinal joints, and give you exercises to maintain your thoracic mobility.
Keep the core in check. You can regain optimal control of your deep spinal muscles (core) following an episode of neck or back pain. A physiotherapist will show you how to achieve ideal postural alignment, and will prescribe exercises to strengthen their core to better support your spine.
Correct postural habits. You should always be aware of habitual postures and positions (such as always sitting on one side of the couch, slouching with feet on the coffee table, carrying a bag/purse over the same shoulder always, sitting cross-legged, leaning usually on the same elbow etc.). Your physiotherapist can assess reasons why you may adopt habitual positions, and how to easily correct them.