You never really notice it, the gradual rounding of your shoulders as you type away at your computers and smartphone. Your head dips a little lower to see the screen better. You slide deeper in your seat and your shoulders move forward to compensate for the extra distance. When you finally stand up, you notice the slight burn in your shoulder blades and the stiffness in your neck, maybe even the knot forming in your back. You roll your shoulders and neck to relieve tension, standing straight for a moment before your body relaxes back into the slouch that has become your norm.
Postural dysfunction, or poor posture, is when the spine is maneuvered into unnatural positions for a prolonged period. Unlike in previous eras, proper posture is something that is recommended but not necessarily enforced; it isn’t taught to us by etiquette teachers, but is rather a self-discipline, something we have to monitor and maintain for ourselves. Unfortunately, good posture has become the exception to the rule, as many of us have slid into the bad habit of slouching.
Bad posture puts strain on joints, muscles, and vertebrae. Pressure builds in these tissues over time, resulting in pain and discomfort. Eventually, without intervention, poor posture can actually lead to curvatures, constricting blood vessels and nerves, which can lead to further pain and dysfunction
Slouching is one of the most common reasons for neck pain. The weight of your head puts stress on the lower neck, and your back muscles overwork themselves in an attempt at counterbalance. This chain reaction continues as the muscles in your lower body attempt to relieve the strain on your upper body, causing problems in your hips, legs, and ankles as well.
Physiotherapists know what to look for when addressing the imbalances caused by bad posture, helping you to achieve your optimal health. A personalised treatment, with services such as core stability programs and exercise therapy, can help prevent issues from worsening and prevent new issues from arising altogether.
Pain and discomfort caused by poor posture is a very common, unanticipated issue people experience. Don’t be caught unawares—book your physiotherapy appointment today!