Are you looking to personally improve posture in your every day life? Are you experiencing pain in the back, neck, or shoulders? We will help you get to the strong, straight spine you need to be the best version of you.
Appropriate upright posture can reflect overall well-being & confidence. A person’s posture can mirror your level of confidence and the condition of your health to others. As we get older & maybe work in jobs which may involve prolonged computer sitting, our posture tends to be less than perfect. This may result in a curved back, forward head &/or forward rounded shoulders. With the right knowledge it is possible to eliminate worsening alignment and improve posture as life goes on.
Why Is It Important to Improve Posture?
A spine with the right curves in the right spots is the foundation of good posture. It means the spine is not rounded too far forward or arched back too much. Today we are going to stay away from medical terms like “lumbar lordosis” and “thoracic kyphosis”, but these are very real conditions that we as Physical Therapists see first hand each and every day. A lifestyle associated with too much time sitting in front of a computer or at a desk in addition to certain diseases can contribute to poor posture. Disease like spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, osteoarthritis, spondylosis, osteoporosis and even whiplash from an auto accident can cause you to develop a rounded or painful spine.
Poor posture can start a viscous downward spiral in light of conditions like these. When the posture is not held correctly, muscle imbalance occurs, creating tightness and weakness in areas unevenly. This leads to uneven pressure and strain on the joints and soft tissues of the body. This can produce neck, back, shoulder, and hip pain. When pain and inflammation occur, movement becomes more difficult. As a result, we tend to avoid moving in certain ways or correcting our posture that would strengthen the very muscles that have become so weak and tight in the first place. The less we move, the worse the problem becomes. Thus the cycle continues. It is very hard to break the pattern after the pain has set in. If we can address postural issues before they lead to pain and imbalance in the body, we can prevent the worsening of these conditions.
How To Improve Posture in Unexpected Ways
A healthy diet is important for a healthy spine. At Back In Motion, Sarasota Physical Therapy we have a full time nutritionist who can assist you with food, nutrients and vitamins for a healthy spine. A healthy diet combined with regular physical activity is essential for healthy bones and normal alignment of the spine. Being overweight can also lead to poor posture. Check out: http://www.idealdietsarasota.com/self-help-tips for some self help tips on weight loss and overall health.
Osteoporosis can lead to abnormal posture and even fractured bones. If you have Osteoporosis or know someone who has been diagnosed with Osteoporosis we would recommend you take 5 minutes and read this very helpful blog: http://backinmotionfl.com/osteoporosis-and-physical-therapy-and-you/. Osteoporosis is a diagnosis we deal with and treat with a very high success rate on a daily basis. Prevention requires an adequate supply of key vitamins and minerals. Calcium is one of those essential minerals that is best absorbed from food sources. Food sources rich in Calcium include but certainly are not limited to dairy products, nuts & vegetables such as: collard greens, kale, turnip greens, spinach and okra to name a few. Most people who eat a regular balanced diet can get enough calcium from diet alone, but some people including seniors may need a calcium supplement. As a Physical Therapist, I am educated on health, wellness and nutrition, however always talk to your doctor about whether a calcium supplement would be beneficial for you.
In order to absorb calcium, the body needs Vitamin D. Some supplements have a combination of both Vitamin D and Calcium. Vitamin D helps the body to utilize the calcium from food sources. A great way to increase your body’s production of vitamin D is to spend time outdoors and enjoy the sunshine. Vitamin D is typically known as “the sunshine vitamin”. Living in Sarasota, Florida (or close to one of our top ranked beaches, such as Siesta Key Beach), it should be no problem getting some sunshine!!! Living in an indoor environment can lead to a Vitamin D deficiency in otherwise healthy individuals. I am a 38 year old male and spend time outdoors as a normal guy would, and my Vitamin D upon testing was LOW!!! Low Vitamin D can lead to other problems such as: bone pain and muscle weakness as well as cognitive impairment in older individuals. Have your Vitamin D levels checked through a simple blood test and ask your medical doctor about the best way to maintain proper levels of Vitamin D as you become more senior.
Why is Good Posture So Hard These Days?
Computers are everywhere. As a direct result, many are spending more time sitting and working at a desk. As I type this blog, I realize this is a reality for many many people, including myself. Our lifestyle from 10, 20, and 30 years ago is very different from the lifestyle many of us live today. This computer work and spending hours on a computer or hunched over a desk is bad for your posture. Computer sitting without the proper set up can lead to posture problems including neck pain, low back pain & shoulder pain.
What Can You Do About It?
The physical therapists at Back In Motion, Sarasota Physical Therapy are truly the experts in addressing posture problems. We can teach you several methods on how to improve posture. Working to improve posture problems is not as difficult as you might think.
- Check your workstation, sit up tall and straight at your desk at all times. Make sure the computer and keyboard are at the right heights. The adjustment might feel strange at first. With time and practice it will become more natural…do not give up.
- Make an effort to improve your posture while sitting. The shoulders tend to become tight & rounded from leaning forward, so take the time to open up and stretch them back every once in a while. Try to pinch your shoulder blades together using the muscles in the back. Stretch out the chest muscles. Your Physical Therapist at Back In Motion can teach you how to isolate the different muscle fibers of the Pectoralis Major and the Subscapularis. These two to the muscles which can contribute to rounded shoulder due to tightness).
- Take frequent breaks. Usually every 20 minutes take a 60 second break and stand up, walk around and stretch.
- Strengthen the Core. The physical therapy team and occupational therapy team at Back In Motion, Sarasota Physical Therapy will teach you exercises to stretch and strengthen specific muscles and muscle groups such as your abdominal muscles.
- Breathe right. Our physical therapists can also teach you breathing exercises to engage your diaphragm muscles and utilize your full lung capacity. This will help in the proper carriage of the trunk.
If you have chronic back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain or joint pain, you may benefit from physical therapy at Back In Motion, Sarasota Physical Therapy. Your physical therapist will teach you how to improve posture & evaluate the overall alignment of your body, from the head to toes. Any deviations from the normal postural alignment can help your therapist determine regions that may be weak or tight. Your physical therapist will work with you to on how to improve posture & perform customized techniques to improve your posture. Some of these techniques may not be what you have ever experienced at traditional Physical Therapy Clinics before. We have the most experienced and educated team of Physical Therapists in Sarasota, Florida. We perform advanced techniques to re-train your body and muscles in simple patterns of movement. Your body will ‘relearn’ what it was always meant to do.
What does your posture project to the world? Does it reflect overall well-being & confidence? Improving your posture will help you look and feel great & increase not only your physical health, but also your personal health & emotional health . Do not delay. As always in the state of Florida, NO DOCTOR’S PRESCRIPTION NEEDED for Medicare recipients and most private insurances. We will deal directly with your health insurance carrier.