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Posture Is Important

Published in Rehabilitation Services, For the Health of It, Exercise Author: Patti Regnier, Physical Therapist

Oh, how I would cringe when I heard my mother say, “Sit up straight,” “Stand up tall” or “Stop slouching.” I never understood why it would matter. Who cares how I sit, or stand or slouch?

And now, when patients come in with back pain and poor postures, I hear myself being my mother. Oh my gosh, I have become my mother! I hope my patient’s don’t cringe like I did as a child.

What is posture?

Posture is the body’s alignment and position in respect to the force of gravity. Gravity exerts pressure on our joints, ligaments and muscles whether we are sitting, standing or lying down.

Why is good posture important?

Good posture helps to distribute the force of gravity through our body so no one structure is overstressed, which could lead to pain. Good posture allows the body weight to be balanced over the spine, pelvis, and legs requiring minimal muscular effort because of ideal alignment. This alignment also evenly distributes pressure through the discs in your spine and avoids excessive stress on ligaments.

What happens when I sit or stand with bad posture?

Your spine is strong and stable when you have good posture. Bad posture causes your muscles and ligaments to struggle to keep you balanced causing them to be stressed and strained, which could lead to back pain, headaches and other issues.

Bad posture may be caused by:

  • A lifestyle lacking exercise and activity, which reduces muscle strength
  • Inappropriate footwear (such as sandals or high heels)
  • Low back pain (bad posture also can cause low back pain)

Strong and flexible muscles are important in keeping spinal curves aligned appropriately. That is why stretching and strengthening exercises are so important.