What is good posture?
Posture is the position you hold yourself in whilst standing, sitting or lying down. Good posture could be described as the position where there is the least strain placed on the muscles, ligaments and joints of the spine with all parts balanced and supported. Taking into account the natural curves of the spine, a straight line should be able to connect the earlobe, through the shoulder, hip, knee and the middle of the ankle whilst in a standing position.
What are the results of poor posture?
- Abnormal wear on joints leading to joint degeneration and osteoarthritis
- Increased stress and strain on the ligaments supporting the joints of the spine
- Inefficient use of the muscles of the spine leading to fatigue – some muscles will become shorter and tighter and others will lengthen and weaken
- Headache or spinal pain
How can physiotherapy help?
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, your posture might not be optimal and a physiotherapist can help. A detailed history helps the physiotherapist work out the cause of the postural problems (injury, habit or lifestyle factors could all contribute). A physical assessment is performed next to determine the effects of poor posture on the musculoskeletal system e.g. muscle tightness or spasm, weakness or joint stiffness. A treatment plan is then devised, which may include stretching and strengthening exercises, joint mobilisations, soft tissue massage, heat or electrotherapeutic modalities such as ultrasound and TENS. A physiotherapist will also be able to advise you on how to manage your work or home environment to encourage better posture.