Posture, posture, posture. It's something everyone knows they should focus on and likely struggle with maintaining. Simply put, posture is the way in which we hold our body while sitting or standing. When our postural alignment is out of whack we begin to put excess stress and strain on joints, muscles, nerves etc which causes pain and dysfunction.
Most work spaces are not ergonomically individualized causing all sorts of nagging aches and pains. Many people slouch and hunch over their desk or stare down at their phones all day leading to issues like neck pain, back pain, wrist pain, numbness and tingling, and even headaches. A lot of these symptoms are brought on or worsened by these poor postures, and here's exactly what is happening:
The low back gets achy when you sit and your hips and pelvis turn backwards (we call it a posterior pelvic tilt) and your lower lumbar spine goes into a rounded flexion position instead of normal lumbar curvature/lordosis. The hip flexor muscles tighten up pulling the lumbar spine and compressing the vertebrae causing more strain on the low back trying to hold yourself up. Depending whether people sit on their wallets, on the edge of the seat, or with their legs crossed, it may compress the glute/piriformis muscle, causing compression of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve can lead to pain and weakness shooting into the buttock and down the back of the leg.
Prolonged poor posture can also take a toll on the neck as the front of the neck or the scalene muscles and upper trapezius or shoulders will become achy and tight. With prolonged poor postures, certain muscles get tight and others become weaker, causing the posture to become worse and worse, generally leading to a never ending cycle. Similar to the back, certain muscles pull on the spine and compress nerves or restrict blood flow leading to pain, headaches, dizziness and more.
Change your work space now with the following illustrations and help yourself to rid some of the aches and pain!
Tips to get better:
1. Take frequent breaks to rest the mind and the body
2. Stretch! Low back, glutes, hip flexors, neck, chest, and shoulders
3. Strengthen low back and core to better assist in holding up your posture
4. Increase physical activity. Release of endorphins and improves blood flow to your body.
5. Lumbar support. On your ergonomic chair or even a rolled towel placed just under the rounded curve of your spine will help hold you up when your body wants to collapse.
Fixing ergonomics is one easy way to help your pains and posture, however it is only a piece of the puzzle. If poor posture has been an issue for you for a long time it may require indivudalized specific exercises and joint movements. We can help. Consider making an appointment to have a full assessment and a proper diagnosis/treatment plan with one of our Chiropractors or Physiotherapist.
Let’s get rid of those aches and pains once and for all.