The topic of posture is something almost every patient inquires about during their PT stint. “What is good posture?” “Do I have bad posture?” “How do I build strength in my postural muscles?” While there isn’t exactly a “perfect posture” that will work for everyone, we have plenty of anecdotal and evidence-based research to safely say certain postures can contribute to pain in sitting, standing, etc. Since August is all about Back to School, we know this means back to sitting for 8 hour days for students. For many adults, sitting at work for long periods of time is inevitable. This is why addressing posture and building postural stability and strength is so important!
Before we dive in to what good posture IS, lets first discuss what good posture ISN’T:
- Pulling your shoulder blades back and down
- This creates tension/strain on your brachial plexus (the nerve network that runs from your neck to your arms)
- Standing with your butt tucked under you with posterior pelvic tilt
- Thinking of your spine being straight will contribute to unnatural loading patterns for your vertebral column and your discs
- Keeping your neck held “straight” with a chin tuck
- This will lead to military neck and loss of cervical lordosis and your natural curvature
Message from all of this? KEEP YOUR CURVES! Your spine is S-shaped and maintaining this is what good posture is all about! If you have worked with us at IP, you may have heard some expressions like: keep your ears over your a$$, pull your butt up to your blades, or _________ . We aren’t saying these expressions for a laugh, but to cue to you to keep your natural lordosis and kyphosis (spinal curves). In the picture below, you see the anatomical plumb line. If maintaining good posture, this line should cross your earlobe, outside of the shoulder, outside of your hip, outer knee, and outer ankle in standing!
Think of maintaining these curves the next time you have to stand or sit for a prolonged amount of time to begin building postural endurance and strength! If you struggle with sitting or standing for prolonged amounts of time without aches and pain, consider scheduling your PT evaluation at IP!