Posture: “Sit Up Straight, Don’t Slouch!”
“Sit up straight, don’t slouch!” Those words echo in my head close to the spot where I can almost feel the slap on the back of my head from my mother’s hand as she reminded me to sit up straight at the dinner table.
As a physical therapist, I can now appreciate the benefits of maintaining appropriate posture. Almost daily, I see patients with neck, back or shoulder pain. The majority of these patients have noticeably bad posture. We all do. It’s a constant battle between aging, our bodies and gravity. We must work to maintain appropriate posture or our bodies “slouch” into the easiest position, succumbing to the force of gravity and our office chair.
From a mechanical standpoint it all makes clear sense. Keep in mind, that it is scientific fact, that our entire body is related. One system affects the other. If our shoulders are “slouched” forward as we sit at our office desk, our neck must then extend to compensate so that we can continue to view the computer or look forward. The vicious cycle continues to take its toll. The muscles across our chest get short and tight, adapting to this poor posture. In return, the muscles between our shoulder blades and on our back become elongated and weak, further adding to the problem. This affects the mechanics of our shoulders. It also alters the mechanics of our middle and low back.
Simply put, poor posture places additional stress on your spine and the muscles, ligaments, and other soft tissue surrounding it. There is a solution however! Sit up straight. Here are few recommendations to sit properly and some simple exercises you can do on your own to address your posture.
1) You may have to alter your work station to make it more posture and ergonomically friendly.
2) Try a towel roll for lumbar support
- Make a towel roll with a (6-8) inch diameter
- Place behind low back
- Sit up with shoulder blades down and in your back pockets
3) Stretch the muscle across the front of your chest.
4) Strengthen the muscles across your back.
Make all of these simple exercises a habit!
Adam Groves, DPT specializes in the treatment of back pain, neck pain, whiplash, general orthopedic conditions, and vestibular or balance disorders. He received his doctorate of Physical Therapy degree from the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in St. Augustine, Florida. Training under the instruction of Dr. Stanley Paris at St. Augustine’s highly regarded manual therapy program, Adam developed his specialized, comprehensive treatment approach.
Prior to completing his doctoral education, Adam received his Bachelors of Science in Education, with a major in Exercise Science from the University of Tennessee. There he worked as a student athletic trainer with men’s athletics, and focused on physical wellness, conditioning and athletic performance.
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