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What is good posture and why is it important anyway?

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What is good posture and why is it important anyway?

Good posture relates to the alignment of the three natural curves of your spine. There are many factors that contribute to deviations from the “norm” such as prolonged abnormal alignment (i.e. sitting at the computer), obesity, scoliosis and many others. Abnormal postures can lead to muscle imbalance, increased joint stress, and pain. It is important to not only understand the type of posture you have but to also take steps throughout the day to improve your posture. Below are some helpful hints that you can take to improve your posture:

  • Move more!!! Joints throughout the body and especially your spine rely on movement to receive nutrition; therefore, it is critical to avoid static positions for an extended period of time. So keep it simple and move more throughout the day.
  • Use proper ergonomic tools in your home and work environment: Today there are hundreds of products out there that aid us in proper posture. Make sure you set up your work and home stations as needed to have good posture.
  • Be more aware of your posture during everyday tasks: It is important to be more aware of your body when doing every day tasks such as picking up an object from the floor or brushing your teeth.
  • Wear proper supportive footwear when standing: Feet are the foundation of the body’s structural alignment; therefore, unsupported feet can cause pain in your knees, hips and back. Invest in a good pair of shoes; they will be worth the investment.
  • Regular exercise: Exercise such as biking, walking or swimming will keep you aerobically fit while specific postural strengthening exercises will keep the back and core muscles strong, contributing to the maintenance of good posture.
  • Avoid overprotecting posture: While it is important to sit & stand up straight, over stimulating your muscles to maintain the proper posture is also not recommended. Ideal posture is maintaining a neutral alignment while having your muscles relaxed. If this is difficult to achieve then you may need to see a physical therapist to work on improving joint and soft tissue mobility in order to allow you to get into a proper posture without straining yourself. 
  • Understand the warning signs of poor posture: If you start feeling pain with certain positions but not others, increased pain towards the end of the day or pain with a specific activity, you may be suffering from poor ergonomics and/or posture. It is important to address this as early on as possible in order to prevent further injury. 

As always feel free to leave me any questions.

Alex Volfson, PT,DPT

Bon Secours St. Francis Physical Therapy


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