Just as a car needs a straight chassis to work well mechanically, people need a good posture to move well. Many injuries treated by Physiotherapists are associated with abnormal loading or wear and tear from underlying postural problems. It becomes an important part of a sustainable recovery, to assess and treat these postural problems and to manage them into the future.
In the early stages, most postural problems are reversible but if we persist in poor postural habits, these changes become harder to correct and may become irreversible. Unchecked, poor posture comes with a myriad of problems:
- neck, back, limb pain and headaches associated with sustained postures e.g. sitting for a long time at computers;
- musculoskeletal wear and tear that increases our risk of conditions like rotator cuff tears, osteoarthritis and degenerative disc disease;
- poor chest and lung expansion, associated with a greater predisposition to chest infections;
- increased gut pressure that causes digestive problems, constipation and incontinence;
- a forward shift in our centre of gravity that is associated with reduced balance and a propensity to fall when we are older.
A good posture is about being tall (reclaiming our full skeletal height) and well-aligned, so that our joints can move through a true axis. It is our deep, postural stabiliser muscles that support and control this alignment. Just as a crane truck needs to engage it's stabilisers before undertaking mechanical lifting, we need to engage our core stabilisers to create a dynamic, stable/sure base for effective movement. These core stabilisers need to have the strength and endurance to match our physical demands, especially if we are undertaking highly demanding work (heavy lifting, sustained or awkward postures, repetitive movement). Good posture not only helps us to move well and stay well, it also makes us look good. Being our tall self, makes us look confident and comfortable.
To manage postural problems, Physiotherapists:
- assess and treat the underlying causes of postural problems,
- provide postural re-education
- train core stabiliser muscles using Real-Time Ultrasound, Clinical Pilates and functional conditioning and
- provide information on postural support solutions (e.g. pillows, mattresses, seating, footwear, orthotics)
- provide work or home-based ergonomic assessments to reduce aggravating postural demands and ensure that our working environment is supporting us optimally.
If you are suffering from postural problems or have recurring pain episodes, speak to us about what we can do to help.