It’s been over a year since the pandemic began and for many of us this has increased the amount of time we sit, staring at a screen. While all our zoom meetings and Netflix binge watching may have helped us to survive the isolation, it most certainly didn’t help our posture. Is anyone noticing more headaches, neckaches and backaches? Maybe even some jaw pain? Sound familiar? Poor posture can be blamed for many of these symptoms and the longer we let ourselves sit or stand with bad posture, the worse symptoms can get and the harder it can be to reverse the changes. However, there is good news. Posture can improve with a concerted effort to change bad habits.
When thinking about bad posture, we first need to understand good posture. When we are sitting or standing with normal or good posture, our spine is aligned along it’s natural curves: a slight curve inward of the neck (cervical spine), slight curve outward of the mid-back (thoracic spine), a slight curve inward of the low back (lumbar spine) and a slight curve outward curve of the lowest part of the spine called the sacrum.
Natural curves of the spine
When we are standing or sitting with good posture, our spine stays in alignment, which allows our muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and joints to be held in the optimal position to avoid pain and dysfunction. We are functioning as we should.
Long periods of time spent in poor posture will cause undue stress on joints, ligaments, tendons, and nerves, causing our muscles to work harder to maintain alignment. This can cause a multitude of symptoms including but not limited to, headaches, eye pain, neck pain, back pain, numbness and tingling, and jaw pain.
Exercise therapy, hands on techniques, and improvement of work stations are all helpful in reducing or eliminating pain caused by poor posture. Habit changes, including movement breaks can also help to reduce symptoms. Physical and Occupational Therapists are trained in specific treatments designed to address poor posture, muscular imbalances, and bad word station mechanics which will help you overcome your symptoms.
If you have noticed greater symptoms of pain or discomfort as mentioned above, please contact one of our offices for an initial evaluation, if you do not have a referral from your physician you may be able to utilize direct access.
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Parisa Nejati 1, Sara Lotfian 2, Azar Moezy 1, Mina Nejati 3 , “Thestudy of correlation between forward head posture and neck pain in Iranian office workers” Int J Occup Med EnvironHealth. 2015;28(2):295-303.