Understanding Posture and Your Health
What is Posture?
Whether you're standing, lying down, sitting, or in any other position, gravity is constantly exerting a downward pressure on your muscles, ligaments and joints. Posture is defined as how your body is aligned and positioned with respect to this gravitational pressure.
The Effects of Bad Posture
Unfortunately, for many people, their body isn't optimally aligned and positioned – and as a result, they experience or are vulnerable to a variety of negative effects, including:
- excess stress and unhealthy pressure on their nervous system, brain, spinal cord and overall organ functionality
- muscle tension, fatigue, pain and injury
- breathing difficulties resulting from a closed front rib cage
- extra stress on certain joints, causing wear and contributing to degenerative and osteoarthritic conditions
The Effects of Good Posture
Fortunately, there's another side to the story! That's because good posture leads to a variety of positive effects, including:
- improved overall balance and properly stacked bones, muscles and ligaments, with reduced stress on structures and systems
- more efficient movement that makes everyday tasks easier and safer
- the lowering or elimination of aches and pain
- more efficient breathing, which means more oxygen for the brain and body
- reduced wear on discs and joints of the neck and lower back
- more energy and the ability to focus and concentrate
- stronger abs (good posture gently "works out" the ab muscles – what a bonus!)
- the ability to project a more confident and self-assured image
- improved physical appearance (plus, studies show that clothing looks more expensive and appealing when the person wearing them has good posture!)
How to Improve Posture through Rehab
Based on your specific injury/injuries and the type of pain that you're experiencing, there are a variety of potential rehab options that will help you improve your posture – and reap the rewards listed above.
- Stand and walk as tall as you can. You can even imagine a crane pulling at the top posterior of your head (this imagery tends to elongate the spine/body).
- Sit with your spine straight and elongated, as describe above. Keep your feet about 18" apart and flat on the floor. Focus on making this your regular sitting posture.
- Breathe deeply and into your tummy, like a child. This fills your lungs with more air and exercises your diaphragm, which helps keep your abdomens toned. Plus, breathing like this can give you more energy!
- Go for daily walks. Always stand and walk tall, and pay attention to proper breathing technique. In a few months you'll see improvement in your posture, and derive significant health benefits.
Also keep in mind that your customized Rehab Program should include 4 key components:
- A cardiovascular component to help build towards improved fitness.
- A general stretching component to regain flexibility and restore balance to muscles in the body, and especially the injured area.
- A muscle balancing component, to ensure that muscles are firing effectively and in sequence.
- A strength component, that must be followed regularly 3-4 times/week for 6-8 weeks, and then 2-3 times/week thereafter.
An Important Note about Posture Rehab Exercises
There's no shortage of exercises and methods on the Internet that claim to improve posture. And while some of these are effective, you should never attempt any of them without expert guidance. It's vital that you know how -- and how not – to perform each exercise, so that you reap the rewards -- and avoid further injury and more pain.
Getting the Answers and Help You Need
At the Advanced Therapeutic Centre, we're compassionate and caring Acute and Chronic Pain Management Specialists who are driven to help our patients heal their body, end their pain, and live a healthy, healthy life full of vitality and energy!
Our doctors will work closely with you to improve your posture in a way that's easier and faster than you probably imagine. We'll also create your customized Rehab Program (with all 4 components listed above), and carefully show you "step-by-step" how to correctly perform each exercise.
To learn more or book your 30 minute consultation, call us at (416) 361-9900 during our Centre hours (Monday, Wednesday & Friday from 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM).