Ever heard of the old saying, “where the head goes, the body follows?” It’s true. When it comes to posture, the head is one of the posture leaders. In fact, our bodies have 3 important posture leaders that I want to share with you.
Before you learn my secrets about bad posture, I will briefly explain why you may care. Bad posture causes problems with the musculoskeletal system, the part of the body made up of muscles, bones, and connective tissue. Think of bad posture like this, unbalanced alignment of the structural components from the head to the toes. Pain, muscles aches, joint stiffness, and even sciatica can stem from bad posture. If you work from home then you are in a risky working population where bad posture is a commonly reported symptom causing injury. Yes, you can be injured from bad posture. Learn more from this Blog by Dr. Tom.
When it comes to bad posture, the head tends to lean forward. It’s really easy to see the forward head posture when someone is using a computer or looking down at their cell phone. The head sticks out in front of the body as if you were getting near the finish line of a race. This could make an awesome photo finish, but in day to day reality, most of us are not in that kind of a race when working at our computer workstations. It’s a bad posture because it ends up being more than a “race winning technique”, it gets over played and makes the body work harder in not a good way.
Another leader of our body’s posture is the pelvis. That’s because it connects our lower body to our spine. Therefore, if we can influence healthy posture with the pelvis, we are likely sitting easier with the back and the legs. A bad posture for the pelvis is when you sit down in your chair and then end up sliding. This is so important to learn. Sliding leads to the most typical bad posture you probably see every day: SLOUCHING!
Sliding in a chair is the “gateway movement” to slouching your posture. This apply to all places you sit whether its in the computer chair, the kitchen chair, or the vehicle. First, sliding leads to slouching. Second, slouching leads to weakened posture muscles. Third, repeated slouching causes muscles to become tired and weak. Finally, regular slouching leads to pre-injury symptoms which is putting the body on the verge of an injury if it has not set in yet. If the symptoms are addressed early enough the body can heal immediately. That’s why some aches and pains go away, and others don’t. By the way, symptoms that go on for 2 weeks should not be expected to just go away because the injury has probably taken hold. Ask a Physical Therapist how to recover and take back your body.
This brings me to the final body posture leader. The feet! This is because the feet ground the body to create a point of leverage known as ground-reaction-forces. To create a solid base with the body sitting in a chair, place both feet flat on the floor (or a step). This will hold the pelvis in place and prevent sliding. With some attention from the ground up, finding the proper head and neck alignment becomes more practical.
Some parts of the moving body often get lost in the attention given to work, electronics, and activities. If I may suggest, review your posture at work and ask yourself, “are my posture leaders being acknowledged?”
If you liked this article, please comment below. Do you have a posture question to ask Dr. Tom?
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