Best 5 Ways Physiotherapy can improve your Posture
Good posture involves maintaining the health and alignment of the spine to prevent strain or injury, reduce pain, and promote overall health. Physiotherapy is a field of medicine that can play a vital role in enhancing posture.
When we talk about alignment, we’re talking in most cases about the forward bend (or backward bend) of the spine. The spine naturally has a series of curves, which help to distribute mechanical load. When viewed from the side, an ideal spine has an 'S' shape, with the neck (cervical spine) and lower back (lumbar spine) curving slightly inward, known as lordosis. The upper back (thoracic spine) curves slightly outward, which is known as kyphosis. These curves are normal. However, when these curves are exaggerated, they can lead to conditions also referred to as kyphosis and lordosis. Kyphosis is an excessive forward bend of the spine, leading to a hunchback appearance. Lordosis, on the other hand, is an excessive backward curve of the lumbar spine, often resulting in a pronounced arch in the lower back. Both conditions can lead to discomfort and other health issues if not addressed. They also give a poor appearance.
Here are the top five ways in which physiotherapy can improve your posture:
1. Postural Evaluation and Instruction
Understanding what needs to be corrected is the first step in improving posture. Physiotherapists are trained to conduct comprehensive postural evaluations. They are able to identify postural abnormalities such as rounded shoulders, forward head posture, and excessive curvature of the spine. Once these issues have been identified, your physiotherapist or osteopath at Surrey Physio will be able to educate/discuss with you the specific postural concerns and how they may be contributing to your pain or discomfort. Education is key – being aware of a problem can help you to make lifestyle choices. For example, if you are becoming too hunched (increased kyphosis) then we can talk to you about reducing the amount of forward bending you are doing.
2. Individualised Exercise Plans
Physiotherapists and osteopaths at Surrey Physio can create individualised exercise programmes to address your unique postural requirements. To promote better alignment, these exercises frequently focus on strengthening weak muscles and stretching tight ones. For instance, if you have a forward head posture due to extended computer use, your physio may prescribe neck and upper back strengthening exercises. These exercises can gradually improve your posture and alleviate any associated discomfort if performed on a regular basis.
3. Manual Therapy
Physiotherapists and osteopaths at Surrey Physio use manual therapy to mobilise stiff joints with our hands. This can help to alleviate discomfort and enhance mobility. If you have tight chest (pec) muscles that contribute to rounded shoulders, for instance, your physio or osteopath may employ manual therapy techniques to stretch these muscles.
4. Ergonomic Advice
The way you sit at your desk or carry your bag, for example, can cause numerous postural issues. Physios and osteopaths at Surrey Physio can offer ergonomic advice to assist you in maintaining a healthy posture throughout the day. This may involve adjusting the layout of your workstation, or guiding you on how to safely lift heavy objects. By implementing these modifications, you can reduce physical strain and improve your posture.
5. Postural Support and Taping
In certain instances, physiotherapists may employ postural bracing or taping to support the body and promote better alignment. These techniques can provide external cues to help you maintain correct posture. Taping can be used to assist in repositioning your shoulders, reminding you to keep them back and down as opposed to rounded forward. Despite the fact that these techniques are not long-term fixes, they can be useful in the early stages of postural correction.
While there is some mixed research about what exactly good posture is, and even if “good posture” really exists, we know that everyone has a slightly different posture. Good posture, we believe, is when your body is close to the centre of gravity. When you deviate too far from the centre of gravity, your body has to deal with greater amounts of load.
Posture can be improved with exercise, guidance, advice, and therapy.
(If you are a patient needing treatment for poor posture, call Surrey Physio to book a telephone/video consultation with one of our expert physios or osteopaths, or book in face-to-face for an appointment. You can call us on 0208 685 6930 or book online by clicking the link at the top of the page.
Therapists reading this page, check out the brilliant exercise tool Rehab My Patient – the best exercise prescription software for osteopaths, physios and sports therapists to prescribe exercises www.rehabmypatient.com).