A few months ago, the Washington Post researched and published a diagram which listed out the potential health risks associated with poor posture.
While the picture seems to unfairly stereotype a more aged female, people of all ages fall victim to health problems associated w/poor posture. At Prana, we frequently treat patients of all ages who have multiple theories (many of which they have “Googled”) on why they are experiencing pain yet they never consider posture as a potential contributor.
Of course, we recognize that there can be other factors contributing to pain other than poor posture, but imagine how painful certain activities may be when performed for long durations with poor posture that creates stress points in the body other than being stable like a statue. One example is to think of the classic image of a woman carrying a heavy vase of water on top of her head.
Now imagine performing the laborious task above, but instead of keeping your body well-aligned with efficient core muscles recruited, you have one hip stuck way out (like parents do sometimes to hold a toddler on their hip) and with a significant forward head (as many individuals do while using a smart-phone or at a computer). Imagine the stress and strain that would be added to joints, muscles, bones and ligaments.
Lucky for most Americans, we don’t have to carry heavy vases of water long distances. What we do have to contend with is carrying heavy loads of office work in front of a computer.
Does this look familiar? If its not a mirror image of you, maybe it is someone in your office. Let’s examine this picture for a second. What complaints do you think someone with this type of posture might experience? Symptoms resulting from this posture might include headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain, numbness/tingling throughout the arms/hands, lower back pain that feels like “pulling”. If symptoms progress without effective conservative intervention (like skilled physical therapy), more serious problems could develop may include carpal- tunnel syndrome, cervical spine degenerative disc disease, migraine headaches, shoulder rotator cuff tendinitis and perhaps a partial tear….which could lead to the need of surgery.
In recent months, many people (including those at Prana’s front-desk) have invested in standing desks and I applaud them for their change. But applying poor posture to standing could be just as detrimental to your health as poor posture in sitting. Here is an example of someone making good use of their standing desk investment. Look at her posture! Because of her proper alignment and base of support with her legs, she automatically gets a core response and therefore is ready to conquer her e-mails like she would conquer the gym….achieving strength gains to her body…not repetitive stress. She is on a mission to get work done while maintaining a healthy spine and glutes.
Good posture does not come naturally and needs to be coached and trained like a sport. And, posture is becoming more and more popular in the media. A few months ago Runner’s World published an article titled “Is Sitting the New Smoking.” Just the other week, the reputable news source, The Onion, presented an article about NBA great Tim Dunkin and his desire to instate a standing bench policy on the sideline.
Remember…you can take control of your sedentary job. YOU have a choice to strengthen instead of stress/strain all day despite being tied to a computer.