In this expert guide from Physiostation, you will find out what is meant by the term ‘posture’ and understand what good posture and bad posture relates to. It will also explain how posture could contribute to other problems and, most importantly, what you can do to help. 


What is Posture?

Posture is basically the alignment of your spine.  So, good posture means your spine is aligned optimally and bad posture means your spine is not aligned optimally.

‘Good’ Posture

Our spines are naturally ‘S’ shaped (see image).  This enables a greater amount of movement from the spine whilst providing maximum strength.  Maintaining an ‘S’ shaped curve means the pressure we put through our spines is evenly distributed throughout.  This reduces the potential for our joints or muscles to become sensitive.

Maintaining ‘good’ posture should not be an effort.  If you feel it is hard work to try and keep a good posture, you are either trying too hard or the equipment you use e.g. chair or computer, is not set up adequately for you.  This will result in your muscles working inefficiently and likely to produce some aches or pains.

idealposture

‘Bad’ Posture

When we sustain a posture (for long periods of time) that does not maintain the ‘S’ curve of the spine (see image), this results in an uneven distribution of pressure through the spine.  This then has the potential to cause aches and pains from the spinal joints or surrounding muscles.  This is our body’s way of telling us to move or change position.
badposture

Important things to know

Our body has been well designed to cope with even the most awkward postures. To give it the best chance of ensuring this continues, try to keep your muscles strong and supple. Regular physical activity or exercise is a great way to do this.  So if you have a sedentary job, try to get up and move around every hour or so.  In your non-working time, it’s also recommended that you engage in 30 minutes of physical activity 5 times per week.  Find something which you enjoy doing.  This can range from dancing or gardening to sport or exercise.

If you feel uncomfortable at work, get a colleague to see if there is anything obvious which might help to improve your position.  If you have a health and safety representative, they should be able to help you too.  Remember that regular movement is still the best thing you can do.

Posture is rarely the only reason why we develop spinal pain.  There are many other aspects of our day to day life which can also contribute to it.  So, if you feel you could benefit from a thorough assessment of your individual problems please feel free to get in touch with us at Physiostation.

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