“Stand up straight! Keep your shoulders back!” Your mother was right. It is important to be conscious of your posture.
Postural awareness prevents and alleviates back and neck pain, allows for optimal use of your muscles and reduces fatigue. And, don’t forget, good posture makes you look younger and slimmer. There is really no downside.
Atlanta Sports Physical therapy clinicians are specialists in Postural Re-training.
How to correct your posture:
Let’s work up from the toes to the head.
It is important to distribute your weight evenly between your legs. This prevents you from standing on one side only, which contributes to a sideways curvature of the spine – scoliosis
Good footwear is also essential. High heels increase the curvature of your lower back and throw your head forward. Try to limit their use. Orthotics (shoe inserts) place your feet in a better position. This is especially important if you have flat feet or very high arches.
Travelling up, recruitment of the core muscles (the muscles that are closest to your spine) is vital. Unfortunately these can be hard to find as they are covered by other muscle. An Atlanta Sports Physical Therapist can help you to isolate and strengthen these muscles. They will help you to achieve a “neutral” spine with optimal spinal curves that minimize impact on your joints.
It is important to keep your shoulder blades down and back, instead of having your shoulders up in your ears. Aim for a long neck. Additionally, work on balancing your head on top of your skeleton.
Specific exercise regimes customized for your specific postural type can be designed at Atlanta Sports Physical Therapy.
If you are too short to rest your feet on the floor, invest in a foot stool. You will be amazed how much this will increase your sitting comfort.
When sitting in an office chair, make sure your backside in snug against the back corner of the chair. Keep your back resting against the back of the chair. This will allow the lumbar support to do its job. That is, to maintain a gently curve in your lower back.
The keyboard is best set at the same height as your elbows. Often a simple pull-out tray which attaches under your desk surface will be the solution.
The monitor needs to be at eye level or slightly below.
If you use a laptop, it can be useful to use an old keyboard and attach it to your laptop. That way you can put the laptop up on some books to raise the monitor height and keep the keyboard at elbow height. A docking station can also be useful.