What is Postural Dysfunction?
Posture typically refers to how the body positions itself as a whole. “Good” posture indicates a certain positioning, with alignment of the neck, torso, pelvis, arms and legs in such a manner that our “natural” spinal curves remain neutral, or not bent, as we sit, stand or move about.
“Poor” posture is defined as when our spine is carried or positioned in unnatural positions, in which the curves are accentuated, thus positioning the joints, muscles and vertebrae in stressful positions. It can lead to muscle imbalances where some muscles get tight and weak or stop working as they should. For example, prolonged sitting can cause short hip flexors and weak gluteal muscles.
What is the role of Physiotherapy in Postural Dysfunction?
Here at Kingsland Physiotherapy we often hear our patients mention their poor posture throughout their working day. We find that it’s very important to reassure our patients that it is not necessarily the poor posture/habits that can cause injury or bring on pain but in fact the length of time you spend in that posture. We also think it’s important to inform our patients of the optimal sitting/standing positions (see below). We can also assess to see if there are any muscle imbalances and give exercises to correct these.
Management- Advice for Patients
Optimal sitting position
- Eye level at the top of the monitor screen, ensuring to keep the neck in a neutral position
- Elbows and Hips roughly positioned at 90 degrees
- Sit into the back of your chair
- Ankles roughly under the knees or use can use leg rest if provided
- Maintain wrists in neutral, supports can assist with this
Useful daily tips
However, we do understand that these “Good postures” can be challenging to maintain throughout the day. That is why we have provided you with some helpful tips that will encourage you to move throughout the day and ensure you aren’t fixed into a “poor posture” for an extended period of time.
- Take a break every 30-60 mins- Whether it’s to stand up to do a few stretches or take a walk across the office, time away from your desk can also be a good break for the brain!
- Drink Water- Drink plenty of fluids throughout your day, reduce caffeine intake if able
- Walk over to a colleague with a message instead of sending an email
- Organise a lunch time activity- Enquire to see if there are any local gym classes or try and take a walk in the local park
- Always eat your lunch away from the desk
- Step challenge- Challenge a colleague to see who can reach the desired 10,000 steps first
- Stretch regularly throughout the day-see some stretches below
For more simple effective stretches that you can perform at the convenience of your desk please follow the link to see the video we created.
We here at Kingsland Physiotherapy understand the integral part workplace wellbeing plays in the working environment and are happy to help you and your workplace with any of your queries or challenges.
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