Could Your Posture be the Reason for Your Aches and Pains?
Do you suffer from daily or recurrent aches and pains? If so, your posture may be the culprit.
Just think about the number of hours a day we spend staring at a computer screen, hunched over
our desks, or staring at our phones… that’s a lot of stress on the neck and back, especially if you are slouched, tilted forward, or looking down for prolonged periods of time.
At NorthStar Physical Therapy, we can help get to the root of your postural issues so you can complete your daily tasks without pain. Request an appointment with us today to find out how.
How does poor posture affect me?
Changes to your posture can negatively affect your body. If your posture is poor in one or multiple areas, you may experience some of the following symptoms:
If your posture contains a forward head tilt…
This forward-head posture creates a strain on the neck, which can result in neck pain, shoulder pain, arm pain, chronic headaches, and/or lower back pain. Tilting your head forward for long periods of time shortens the muscles in the back of the neck, and can result in soreness throughout multiple parts of your body.
If your posture contains slouching of the mid-back…
If you slouch the middle of your back, you can drive your head forward and alter the way your ribs naturally align. By doing this, you may experience pain in the slouched region of the mid-back, in addition to pain in the neck. If this is your average standing posture, it is important to seek physical therapy treatment right away – over time, standing like this day after day may cause internal issues, as it creates pressure on your lungs, heart, and digestive system.
If your posture includes sitting for long periods of time…
When you sit for prolonged periods of time, the muscles in your hips and legs will stiffen. When these muscles become stiff, they tighten and pull on the lower back, causing pain. The joints also lose their range of motion, which can cause soreness or achiness in the hips, legs, and back, which can create issues with your gait.
The way in which you walk can also have an effect on your posture. When your posture is improper, your center of gravity changes. This can cause your balance to decline, which can cause pain when walking, thus creating a vicious cycle of overcompensation and pain.
The most common symptom of poor posture is lower back pain, although you may also notice pain in other areas of your body. The back muscles constantly contract to keep you upright, and they overcompensate when you slouch or hunch over. Over a period of time, constant poor posture can create an unusual amount of wear and tear on the lower back, which can increase the risk of arthritis in the spine.
How can I improve my posture?
Poor posture can be tricky to fix, especially if it has become a habit. However, there are a few tips you can try on your own to try and improve your posture outside of your physical therapy treatments:
1. Sit properly
If you are at a desk for extended periods of the day, make sure your stance is okay. Sit upright, place your feet flat on the floor, and try not to cross your legs. Make sure there is a small gap between the back of your knees and the chair. Having a chair with strong back support and padding is also recommended for making your upright position more comfortable.
2. Take stretch breaks
If you are an office worker, it is no secret that most of the day is spent with limited levels of mobility. It is important to make sure that you get up every 30 minutes or so and take a small walk, at least for a minute or two. This will help in loosening up your muscles and joints, as well as initiating a stronger blood flow.
Exercise is incredibly important, especially if your job involves several hours of inactivity. When you exercise, you are stretching and strengthening certain muscles of your body, including problem areas such as your neck and back. Taking even a small amount of time to walk or jog around the neighborhood every day can highly improve your posture and gait.
4. Set up your office properly
If you work from an office all day, it is important to have a proper ergonomic setup. Make sure that you are at a proper height with your desk chair and computer, so you don’t have to slouch or lean forward. Additionally, make sure your chair has the proper lumbar support needed to help you sit straight while you’re working. These simple steps can help tremendously with your overall posture.
Get help with physical therapy
If these at-home treatments don’t work, it is important to consult with Star physical therapist. It is a good rule of thumb to seek the help of a physical therapist as soon as you begin noticing postural issues, regardless of how severe they are or whether or not you’ve tried the aforementioned tips.
Simply standing up straight is a fight against gravity, and if you have been standing the wrong way for several years, it may be difficult to change it on your own.
Your physical therapist will evaluate your posture and gait to determine the best treatments necessary for you. Afterward, a personalized treatment plan will be designed, based on your specific needs.
At NorthStar Physical Therapy, we can help relieve the pain caused by your posture and get you back to living your everyday life without pain. To learn more about how we can help improve your posture and get you on track toward a more comfortable life, Contact Us Today at Star, ID Center to schedule an appointment today. We can help you find relief after just a few short sessions!