Our Mums have been telling us for years to sit up straight and most of us admit that we tend to slouch when sitting for long periods of time, but have you ever really thought about the consequences of bad posture?
Maintaining good posture not only looks great, it can also prevent all sorts of aches and pains. According to an American study of university students, sitting up straight can even help us to feel more positive and confident!
However, for many of us good posture isn’t something that comes naturally.
If you’re a student or office worker, chances are you spend many hours each week reading, studying, labouring over assignments or working at computers. Whilst many offices have ergonomic chairs and a personalised desk set-up, when working or studying at home it’s usually a different story.
Students and home workers often sit in static positions on poorly designed seats, awkward desk arrangements, and sometimes use laptops for extended periods. (Some of my patients even tell me that they use their laptops while lying on their bed!) All of these habits and working arrangements can contribute to less than ideal posture.
Poor posture can cause muscles and other soft tissues to become stretched or shortened. If these postures are maintained over long periods of time, some muscles can be overworked through constant contraction and others don’t get used at all. These abnormal stresses on your body can begin to cause pain or discomfort, ranging from minor soreness and aching to severe pain which can affect your ability to complete normal daily tasks and your quality of life. This pain may be felt in your neck or lower back, shoulders, elbows, wrists or hands and even as a headache.
Many of these aches and pains can be avoided simply by changing bad habits, adjusting how you work and reducing the time spent in these positions at any one time. Even if you don’t have pain or discomfort right now, it is important to develop good habits to prevent problems in the future.
The good news? Your Physiotherapist can assess your posture, treat any symptoms and help you develop good habits for a pain free future! If you’re concerned about how you are sitting, your workplace setup, or if you have any of the symptoms mentioned above, be sure to book in for a consultation today.