Body Posture is simply the position our bodies adopt in response to the effects of gravity. It is the way we hold ourselves, in sitting, standing or even lying down. No single posture allows us to carry out everything we want to do and we adopt many different postures in order to do different tasks.
‘Good’ posture allows us to move in the way we want, causing our bodies the least amount of strain and damage.
Maintaining good posture… why Important?
Good posture is particularly important if you cannot move or change your position easily by yourself, or if you experience fatigue or muscle weakness. A good posture uses less energy – whether this is maintained by your muscles or by sitting in a supportive chair.
If we sit, stand or lie in a poor posture for any length of time, it puts stress on the muscles, joints and ligaments. This can cause pain and damage, for example back, neck and shoulder ache. If you fall asleep in a chair and your head is unsupported, when you wake, your neck may feel sore. That is because the muscles and joints have been under strain and they are complaining. The same thing happens if you sit in a poor posture,
How do postural muscles help your posture?
Postural or core stability muscles are the deep muscles in your abdomen, pelvis and back.
They act as a corset or scaffolding holding you together rather than moving your trunk.
It is important to have good postural muscles to help maintain a good posture.
In the abdomen there are four layers of muscles.
The deepest layer, called transverses abdominis, is a band across your low stomach that holds the trunk together.
The top layers help to bend and twist the trunk. The postural muscles only work properly if the body is in a good posture or correct alignment. If not, a vicious cycle can develop.
Tips for maintaining good posture
When you are sitting, you want a seat that will support your natural curves, helping keep your back in a neutral position so it is under the least amount of stress.
Adjust your chair so that your lower back is properly supported.
If there is a gap between your lower back and the chair, place a small rolled up towel or small cushion in the small of your back to support this area.
Your knees should be level with your hips and your feet should be flat on the floor or on a footrest.
If you use a keyboard, your wrists and forearms should be straight and level with the floor.
The top of the computer screen should be roughly at eye level.
Keep the mouse close so you don’t need to stretch to use it.
Keep frequently used objects, such as the telephone, within easy reach.
Have frequent breaks from your desk.
Try and stand with equal weight on both legs rather than on one leg or in a stooped position.
If you find it hard to stand for any length of time and you notice that you are starting to slouch or sag, consider whether you could pace your activities (alternate a standing activity with a sitting activity) or use a stool to perch on to do the task, preparing vegetables at
the sink or cooking.
Perching stools are often available from social services. If you feel you may need one, discuss with your nurse or therapist
Low back pain, leg spasms or leg pain can all be aggravated by the way you lie.
If your pelvis is twisted (because your legs rest to one side when lying on your back) or the weight of your leg pulls on it when lying on your side, putting a pillow between your legs or under your knees can help.
If you have neck pain or arm weakness, putting a pillow under your arm can help as this takes the weight of the arm off the neck.
Weakness of Muscle
If you have any weakness or imbalance in your muscles, especially the core or postural muscles in your back and stomach, it will be harder to keep your back and pelvis in a normal position or alignment and so harder to keep a good posture.
This can mean that you either have too big a curve in the low back so that you lean backwards, or too little (slumped back) which makes you slouch. These problems can cause neck and back strain. Strengthening these muscles will help.
Fatigue can also have an impact on your posture. The natural tendency is for your body to sag and slouch with the effects of gravity when you are fatigued.
Whether your fatigue is caused directly by MS (Multiple Sclerosis) or by secondary factors such as lack of sleep, stress, low mood, poor fitness or lack of exercise, inadequate diet or side effects from medication, the key to managing fatigue is planning, prioritizing and pacing your activities and using energy effective strategies.
Poor eyesight may cause you to lean forward to see the computer screen or TV, causing your shoulders to hunch and head jut forward.
When at your computer, you may need to adjust the font size so you can see it more readily and take regular breaks to prevent eye strain and fatigue.
Hope this topic will help you to correct your posture.