Physio’s have a reputation for helping people correct their posture, some may call us the posture police.

This is because posture plays a big role in everyday life and can be a contributing factor towards aches and pains. 

What Is Posture?

Posture is described as the way we hold our bodies while standing, sitting or lying down.

There is no gold standard for what the perfect posture should look like.

However, physios can shed a light on the difference between good and poor posture.

Poor Posture

Poor posture is the result of prolonged positions which limit the body to function in the best way possible.

Commonly, this may include rounded shoulders and a forward head position or can present with forward tilting of the hips with a pushed-out stomach.

When your body is not in its ideal position, there is added stress on your muscles and joints that may lead to pain, commonly neck, shoulder, back and hip pain and headaches. (Here are 2 posts we wrote on headaches: 1. 2. )

Good Posture

Good posture is something that will happen with small changes every day.

Just like brushing your teeth, where you need to do it every day to keep your teeth clean, to improve your posture, you will need to make a conscious effort and implement small changes to maintain it. 

Good posture allows your muscles to work efficiently, decreasing the amount of energy needed for your body to function.

It helps with weight distribution to your joints and decreases straining and overusing muscles. 

How To Practice Good Standing Posture

  1. Stand with your feet hip width apart
  2. Keep your legs straight but avoid hyper-extending your knees
  3. Draw your belly button gently in towards your spine 
  4. Evenly distribute your weight between both feet 
  5. Keep your shoulders relaxed and think about growing tall
  6. Let your arms hang naturally down the sides of the body

Why Your Posture May Be Causing You Pain

  • Poor sitting ergonomics 
  • Extra strain on muscles and joints
  • Extra stretch on muscles 
  • Compressed diaphragm, compromising breathing

Tips To Correct Poor Posture At Home

If you are working from home and spend lots of time on your computer, have your workspace set up correctly like the picture below and take regular breaks to stand up and stretch. 

The best thing for improving your posture are exercises that compliment your natural spinal curvature.

At Phyx we implement this by using pilates principals and exercises.

Here are some of our favorite exercises:

Roll Downs

  • Stand tall with correct standing posture 
  • Exhale to slowly roll your spine down, firstly by tucking your chin toward your chest, and then rolling down one spinal level at a time. 
  • Hold at the bottom with your hands reaching to the floor and let your upper body and head be heavy. 
  • Slowly peel yourself back up to tall standing.
  • Repeat 10 x, stop if there is any pain

Shoulder Rolls

  • Start in a neutral position
  • Raise your shoulders up towards your ears 
  • Roll them back and down, gently squeezing the shoulder blades. 
  • Continue rolling them forward and then up toward your ears again. 
  • Repeat 10 x, stop if there is any pain

Bow And Arrow Stretch

  • Lay on your side with your top knee bent resting on the floor and your bottom leg straight. Both arms straight out in front resting on the floor. 
  • Slowly reach your top arm up and across your body, looking back toward your palm 
  • Then bring your top arm back to the starting position.
  • Repeat 10 x, stop if there is any pain.

Bridging

  • Lay on your back with your spine in neutral and your knees bent. 
  • Slowly peel your spine up from the mat one vertebrae at a time. Start by lifting your tailbone, then your lower back, middle back, and finally your upper back.
  • Hold at the top then slowly lower your spine back down.
  • Repeat 10 x, stop if there is any pain.

Remember that this is intended as general advice and is not tailored to your situation.

If you have questions about your posture or would like to get it assessed, make sure to book a time to see us or your local musculoskeletal Physiotherapist.