Posture

Definition

Posture is defined as the attitude or position of the body. A line can be drawn along the side of the body, starting at the ear, going through the shoulder joint, hip joint, knee joint, and ending just in front of the ankle. These points, when lined up, would represent a person with good posture.

Signs & Symptoms of Poor Posture

Visible - Rounded or uneven shoulders, slouching, forward or tilted head, extended stomach, hyper-extended knees, flat back or military posture, scoliosis, upper back 'hump', rotated or unlevel hips, feet angled inwards or outwards, 'knock knees' or bow-legged.

Physical - Headaches, backache, muscle fatigue, degenerating painful joints, poor gait, decreased range of motion, increased tension, muscle imbalance, sleep disturbances or arthritis.

Common Causes of Poor Posture

Hyper lordosis (lower back sway), slouching, high-heel shoes, flat feet, fallen arches, scoliosis, muscular imbalance, poor body position held at work, previous injury, pregnancy, muscle weakness, and asthma or other respiratory problems.

Fact - The average head weighs 10 pounds. For every inch that your head moves forward out of proper alignment, gravity adds an additional 10 pounds! That is a lot of strain on your over-worked neck muscles.

Treatment

Your Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) will assess, evaluate and provide a treatment for your specific postural requirements. Massage Therapy plays a key role in improving posture by facilitating a balance in the body. This balance then helps the patient to make postural adjustments and to correct habitually poor posture. RMTs provide postural training, manual techniques, active therapeutic exercises, hydrotherapy and self-awareness training to help patients improve posture at work and at leisure.

Tips to Improve Posture

  • Obtain manual therapy which can facilitate the correction of muscle imbalance, and prepare you to participate in an active lifestyle.
  • Do self-awareness training.
  • Change your footwear on a regular basis.
  • Use proper ergonomics at work and at home.
  • Engage in a stretch and strength program outlined by your RMT.
  • Use supportive footwear.
  • When walking, shoulders should be relaxed and back, and arms should swing naturally with each step.

Benefits of Good Posture

  • Breath is easier and more full
  • Body is balanced and symmetrical
  • Movement is easier
  • You experience less pain or tension, and have a wider range of motion in the joints
  • You feel and look better

The above information has been provided courtesy of the Massage Therapists' Association of BC