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Poor posture is blamed for a lot of musculoskeletal problems. Spending long periods of time in poor postures may cause increased stress and strain on muscles and joints of the body. This can lead to pain and discomfort. Sitting and standing are the two positions where we would most commonly see postural issues.
When standing, the main pieces of advice are to keep your feet shoulder width apart and to keep equal weight on both feet. Many people get into a habit of leaning more on one foot than the other which could affect balalnce and lead to muscle imbalances. Then think about standing up tall and gently drawing your shoulders back. You should think about your ear lobe being directly above your shoulder which is directly above your hip.
When sitting, it is important to have your feet flat on the ground, about hip distance apart. Your hips should be slightly higher than your knees and you should be able to sit right into the back of the chair. A good chair will have some support in the lower part of the chair to support your lower back. Many people have chairs that fit the above criteria, but they don’t sit right back into the chair and therefore don’t use the chair’s support. If you feel your shoulders are rolling forward try to gently draw them back towards the centre of your back.
If you are working at a computer keep the keyboard and mouse close to you. Screen height is really important, and incorrect screen height can be a factor in neck pain. As a general rule the top line of text on the screen should be at or slightly below eye level. Avoid using a laptop as your main computer, unless you have a separate mouse and keyboard.
Here are some tips for maintaining your new, improved posture
At Ballsbridge Physiotherapy we have extensive experience in advising clients on correct ergonomics, posture and exercise. We do this both in our Dublin 4 clinic and onsite in various companies. Contact us to arrange an appointment.