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Neck Pain? Improving Your Posture May Help


What Is Posture?

Posture relates to the position a person’s body assumes when sitting, standing, and even lying down.  The human body is a complex machine built of many different parts (the arms, legs, spine, head, pelvis, etc.) that all interact to help us do all the cool things that we want to do.  Generally, our bodies try to naturally get into positions that will provide stability as we complete an activity in order to efficiently complete tasks and minimize the risk for injury during movement.

What Is Poor Posture?

 

Woman demonstrating poor posture and good posturePoor posture results if the neck, trunk, and/or shoulders are oriented in a way that places increased stress or strain on the bones, muscles, and ligaments of the body.  As our muscles and joints are designed to work best in certain orientations, prolonged or heavy activity in less ideal positions can lead to discomfort.  If these patterns are not corrected, abnormal postural patterns may develop over time that can lead to pain and difficulty with normal daily activities. The head, jaw, neck, back, and shoulders are common sites for pain related to poor posture.

Pain related to posture may occur after an injury, but many times poor posture can develop on its own.  Muscular weakness or tightness, joint stiffness, or even skeletal changes may contribute to the development of poor posture.  Visiting a physical therapist skilled in assessing and re-educating posture can be beneficial to address these changes in the interest of restoring function and reducing pain.

What Does Poor Posture Look Like?

Assessment of posture often involves observation of a person to determine how one or multiple sections of the body are positioned in relation to other sections.  The spine normally follows a sequence of curves in an “s” shape to allow for normal movement and shock absorption.  Poor posture can result in accentuated or flattened curves in the neck or back, leading to stiffness and discomfort.  Because of the abnormal weight distribution associated with this, patients often complain of difficulty turning their heads or pain with sitting or standing.

Man at computer with poor postureHead and shoulder position can also play a role in pain related to poor posture.  Many of our daily activities, such as driving, using the computer, and reading, involve reaching and looking forward for prolonged periods of time.  If a person is inadequately supported during these activities, the neck and shoulder blades tend to shift forward, which can place increased strain on the neck, shoulder, and back musculature. Additionally, workplaces may be improperly set up and this can lead to inefficient working conditions.  As many of us spend at least eight hours working a day, the strain on the body can build up over time!

If you are experiencing back, neck, or shoulder pain call (888) 989-3323 to schedule an appointment at the nearest ACCESS PT location! Our skilled therapists can help you feel better quickly.