In the same way that it takes years for a person to develop poor posture, it can also take years to correct it. Correcting posture requires you to work hard and be dedicated to changing habits developed over the years. However, taking steps to improve posture will go a long way in removing back pain, minimizing body aches, and reducing your chance of further injuries. Having a well aligned frame and spine is not only good for spinal health, but good for confidence mental well-being.
Physical therapy aids in correcting posture by teaching a person how to strengthen the muscles that may cause them to have bad posture, while at the same time giving them the flexibility needed to reduce muscle strain on their spine.
How Physical Therapists Can Help
Physical therapists can help improve bad posture by first identifying posture problems. They are able to do this because they have undergone an intensive physical therapy educational programs that teach them about how the musculoskeletal system should be properly aligned. Professionals who have completed a physical therapy doctorate program offered by RMUoHP or other health school should be qualified to find where your spine might be weakened.
Therapists will work with you to find the muscles that have been weakened over time and help strengthen them in the right way. Something to remember is just because you increase your physical activity doesn’t mean your posture will improve automatically. Increasing physical exercise with poor posture can be equated to driving a vehicle that has a crooked axle with the hopes that the axle will straighten out on its own. It just doesn’t happen. The following are some moves a physical therapist may recommend for improving posture.
The OJ Squeeze
The purpose of this exercise is to strengthen the rhomboids and mid-trapezius, or the muscles that provide stability to the shoulders. To perform this technique a patient will imagine that there is an orange between their shoulder blades. The goal is to squeeze juice out of the orange by bringing the scapula down and together. They will hold this position for approximately 10 seconds and will allow them to stretch the front of their shoulders, which are likely tense from sitting over a desk for an extended period of time.
The Shoulder Roll
When you are crouched over a desk for a long period of time or walk hunched over, the front part of some of the discs in your spine will be forced backwards. To understand how this works, just imagine that you have a marshmallow in the middle of two crackers. If you push on one side of the crackers, the marshmallow will be forced out of the other side. This is what basically happens to the disc’s contents in the spine when they are bent forward for an extended period of time. The shoulder roll is performed by moving one shoulder forward, then moving it up, and then moving it as far back as possible without moving the rest of the body. The goal is to carefully move the shoulder blade along the spine. This will be repeated 10 times on one side and 10 times on the other side.
Other Physical Therapy Exercises
Other exercises that physical therapists may use include having a patient reach with one hand as far across their body as possible while gently allowing their spine to stretch and twist. This exercise will be performed on both sides with two sets of 15 repetitions. Also, pelvic rolls encourage a patient to sit up straight and align their hips more effectively.
It is estimated that more than 80 percent of Americans have poor posture, and it can affect you in every avenue of life. By simply taking the time to do a few exercises every day, the effects of poor posture can be reversed, allowing you to have a healthy and confident stance.