Sunday, March 20, 2011

Posture and Sitting Series: Article III – How to Correct Your Posture

As we have been talking about your posture we can see how prolonged sitting especially with poor posture can lead to aches and pains in your legs, back, shoulders, and neck.  It can be hard to change these seated and standing postures; the way you sit or stand today is a product of years of incorrect muscle use.  The key is to be in positions that decrease the strain put on your body.  "Good posture involves training your body to stand, walk, sit and lie in positions where the least strain is placed on supporting muscles and ligaments during movement or weight-bearing activities."1  Lets look into a couple ways we can do this.

The first key is to understand what needs to be changed.  This is hard to do.  It is difficult to see your posture and to be able to understand how it may be leading to your aches and pains.  The best way to understand changes would be to see a physical therapist for a biomechanical screen and receive a prescribed treatment plan.  Others may be able to have their friends or family observe their static or dynamic posture. 

I will break down my advice by first looking into standing posture and then educate you on sitting posture.


While standing your shoulders should be slightly back.  Many people have the tendency to lean forward.  While standing place your hands in your front pockets. Feel how your shoulders start to gravitate forward; this position will lead to strain on the shoulders, neck and chest.  We should also have our feet at about shoulder width apart.


While sitting we need to make sure that we have support to our low back (commonly referred to the "small of your back").   When your low back is in the correct position the rest of your spine will line up correctly.  Secondly make sure that you don't begin to gravitate towards your computer screen, this will place increased stress on your shoulders, upper back, and neck.  Make sure to keep your eye level even with the top of your monitor. 

As mentioned before seeing your physical therapist is the optimal way to make changes to your faulty posture.  Your physical therapist can use passive techniques to correct your posture including the use of McConnell® or Kinesio® Taping techniques.  An extensive and personalized exercise program can be prescribed to help with your postural problems.  Along with this, your physical therapist can apply manual techniques to loosen your stiff joints, stretch your tight muscles while strengthening your weak ones.  Many people think this would be the job of a Chiropractor, but many chiropractors do not address the muscles and will not give out preventative exercises, so their patients will need constant care to feel better.