Physiotherapy for posture
As more and more of us find ourselves hunched over computers, sitting for long periods of times and looking down at our phones, it makes sense that our bodies are not happy.
Sitting has been likened to smoking in terms of how dangerous it is for us, and with back and neck pain causing a problem for a lot of us, it’s time to take action.
What affects our posture the most in daily life? Are there any lifestyle factors in particular which contribute to poor posture, but can be avoided?
There are two main activities of daily living that affect our posture.
One is holding a static posture for a long period of time, which affects the blood supply of soft tissues and joints. Examples of such activities include desk work, driving for prolonged times, playing computer games or standing for long periods of time like when ironing or cooking, or when having a job that requires you to do that.
In these circumstances, there are things that you can do to make your posture better like trying to change position throughout the day, postural corrections (adjusting posture regularly), undertaking seated exercises and taking regular breaks.
The other is doing repetitive movements that engage always the same muscle groups, which in turn can cause postural imbalances. Examples of such activities include jobs that always involve doing the same movements or adopting the same posture, sports-related activities that use only one part or one side of the body or even things that are less obvious like carrying a purse over the same shoulder. Here, doing activities involving underused muscle groups is very important.
How does physiotherapy for posture work? Can you explain what we should expect in a session?
Physiotherapy for posture would start with an initial assessment to check the person’s postural imbalances.
Your physiotherapist will then recommend what specific adjustments you need to undertake, and provide advice on what kinds of daily activities to avoid or carry out, how to avoid poor ergonomics and give postural cues (self-corrections). These could, for example, include a set of stretches for overused muscles and strengthening exercises for underused muscles.
In conjunction with advice, your physiotherapist would provide hands-on treatment to help re-model the body and release tension, as well as articulate a tailored exercise program to self-manage the issues found.
Is there anything we can practise at home to help improve our posture?
As mentioned before, trying to avoid or limit the activities that are causing imbalances and carrying out the exercises prescribed by the physiotherapist regularly.
Also, adjusting your workstation (ergonomics) is equally important, in order to avoid overreaching or using one side of the body over the other. Staying active and undertaking exercise classes like Pilates and yoga are very helpful too.
Breathing exercises are effective to release the tension, mobilise the rib cage and realign the body.
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