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Postural checks - You can do at home

In last week's blog I touched upon posture and the importance of this, this week I am going to run through a few basic postural checks that you can do at home. If you trawl the internet you will find some very in depth articles on Biomechanics, but I am going to keep this very simple !

When you slouch or slump, so does your spine, leading to bad circulation. This can cause vertebrae to deteriorate over time. Chronic fatigue can also result. Coupled with circulation issues, the result can be early exhaustion. Chronic back, neck, and shoulder pain can also result from the strain of bad positioning. Fifty percent of the working population in the UK suffer from back pain, and it’s the second most common reason for doctor visits. Twenty five percent of those with back pain suffer from a herniated disc, which may be caused by poor posture.

What Causes Bad Posture?

Bad posture isn’t always a sign of laziness. As a nation, weight issues are becoming more common, and weight gain changes how our skeleton and muscles support themselves. We also tend to be less active, which can lead to increased risk of disease. Chairs, hunching at work, unsupportive mattresses, and even low self-esteem contribute to these problems.

Simple Test:

The first thing you can do is to check your hands. Yes, really. Check the way your hands rest naturally when you stand. In particular, notice the way your palms face in relation to your body. Are your palms hanging parallel to your sides, or are they curved inward so that they face your thighs? If one or both of your palms is facing from the front to your thighs, this is a sign that your posture could use some improvement. This tends to mean that you are slumping or slouching forward. This is often the result of spending large amounts of time hunched over a computer or laptop screen. Regardless of the reason though, slouching should be corrected as soon as possible in order to prevent unnecessary strain and pressure from hurting your back and spinal column.

Another very easy and simple posture check you can try virtually anywhere is known as the wall test.

Stand with your feet flat on the ground, with your heels about 6 inches away from the wall.Put your back flat against the wall.Then place your head against the wall as well, and tuck in your chin.Raise your arms out to shoulder height and bend your elbows. The tips of your fingers will be pointing forward, and your  elbows will be straight out from your shoulders.Now rotate your arms upward at the elbows, keeping them bent, and try to touch the back of your wrists to the wall. If your back arches, or you can’t get your wrists to touch the wall, that indicates poor posture.

Postural Analysis:

Good Posture (A1)  With ideal alignment, you can draw a straight imaginary line from your earlobe, through the tip of your shoulder, the middle of your chest, slightly behind or right at the hip joint, and down through the back half of your knee joint.

Forward Head: Forward Head posture imbalance is when the cervical (neck) portion of the spine is out of alignment, and has lost it’s natural 40 degree curve. This commonly causes neck pain, headaches, sinus congestion, numbness or tingling down the arms, and reduced ability to turn the head from side to side.

Hunchback Posture: The curve of the thoracic (middle) spine is inflated. The muscles of the upper to mid-back become weakened, while the muscles of the chest tighten.

Duck Posture: This is when there is too much curve in the lumbar (lower) spine. The pelvis tilts back, looking somewhat like Donald Duck. Lower back pain usually develops.

Sway Back: Opposite of the Duck Posture, there is no curve in the lumbar (lower) spine. The pelvis tilts forward, making your butt look flat, shorter and thick around the stomach. Your ribcage may press forward creating imbalance and poor coordination, lower back pain often develops.

Don’t become a statistic ….