[This piece was written by Dave Steck, PT, MA, Cert. MDT with St. Peter’s Physical Therapy & Fitness.]
“Stop slouching!” “Stand up straight!” We all likely heard those admonishing words from mom or another adult at some point while we were growing up. Of course, we also all probably rolled our eyes and slumped over as soon as we were out of sight. But, like with so many things, mom knew best.
Good posture is critical to good health. But why? Posture is basically your body’s alignment, and if it is off, it affects how you run, walk, jump, breathe, sit and even lie down. Posture even has an impact on your body’s circulation and digestion, as your internal organs are able to function more efficiently when they aren’t compressed in your abdominal cavity.
Poor posture is a common problem and the source of a lot of the neck, jaw, head, shoulder/back, and even knee pain complaints routinely treated by physical therapists. Do you slump at your desk while typing on the computer, or cradle the phone handset between your shoulder and ear? That’s a recipe for poor posture. Do you spend hours every day staring downward while texting and scrolling on a smartphone or tablet? You are in danger of “text neck,” which is a hallmark of poor posture.
So, what is good posture? Your head ideally should be centered directly over your spine, with your chin tucked in and shoulders back. In that position, your head doesn’t have to fight gravity all day, which helps prevent muscle strain, overuse disorders, and back and muscular pain.
Physical therapists are trained to evaluate and treat these problems, and may use modalities such as heat, ice or electrical stimulation to help decrease the pain. In addition, they may use manual therapy techniques, such as joint mobilization and instruction in posture and exercise, to improve posture and overall function.
Ultimately, if your posture is good, you feel good, because you are able to move with ease, flexibility and strength. So stand up, stretch, and get out of your slouch for better overall health!
St. Peter’s Physical Therapy & Fitness offers a full range of outpatient physical, occupational, and speech therapy services, as well as audiology services, at 1240 New Scotland Road in Slingerlands. St. Peter’s Health Partners Patient Therapies has a variety of outpatient physical and occupational therapists at locations throughout the Capital District, accepting all insurances and providing quality one-on-one treatment.
For information, please call 518-475-1818 or visit us at www.sphp.com/patient-therapies