Do You Recognize This Posture?  Is That a Problem?

How many of us remember being told by our moms to stand up or sit up straight? Anyone remember being told you should walk with a book on your head to practice your posture?  If you look like the picture on the right or the left,  you will not get your first step in before the book falls off.   So, then, is that a problem; does it matter?  Below is a list of posture changes and how they may affect you.

Forward head: can lead to neck pain and headaches – causes your shoulders to round forward and your neck to kink when you look ahead

Forward rounded shoulders: puts your shoulders in poor alignment causing shoulder pain with reaching overhead

Kyphosis (Flexion of upper back): makes it more difficult to breathe well by limiting the space you have to expand your lungs – leads to fatigue; affects balance as the body compensates for the changes in your center of gravity

Flattened lumbar curve or sway back: leads to increased back pain and changes in your balance – body position compensates due to changes in your center of gravity

Use The Wall Test to check out your posture: Stand with your heels 4-6 inches from a wall and your shoulder blades and buttocks against the wall.  Try to touch your head to the wall keeping your chin parallel to the floor. Place one hand behind your low back, the other behind your neck. Your head should be able to touch the wall and your neck and back should be within 1 to2 inches from the wall.

If you failed the wall test, and you have noticed increased fatigue, loss of balance, muscle stiffness, pain in your neck, back, shoulders or headaches, you may want to see a physical therapist to find out if your posture may be causing some of your difficulties.

Check out the MOVE FORWARD webpage of the American Physical Therapy Association to learn more about a plethora of symptoms related to poor posture: http://www.moveforwardpt.com/SearchResults.aspx?q=posture