Postural Conditioning

At Guelph Rehab Centre we can assess and identify your postural habits and help you develop a proper posture. A proper posture means that your back is straight, chin is tucked, chest is up and out and your belly is completely tucked in.

The following is a list of strategies our physiotherapists use to improve poor posture:

  • Postural Assessment
  • Postural education and training
  • Manual therapy (A.R.T., myofascial release, trigger point therapy)
  • Joint mobilization
  • Advice regarding ergonomic work states
  • Pilates
  • Corrective exercises to improve flexibility and strength

What is Good Posture?

Good posture—when you are standing—is straight vertical alignment of your body from the top of your head, through your body’s center, to the bottom of your feet. From a side view, good posture can be seen as an imaginary vertical line through the ear, shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle. In addition, the three natural curves in your back can be seen. From a back view, the spine and head are straight, not curved to the right or left. The front view of good posture shows equal heights of shoulders, hips, and knees. The head is held straight, not tilted or turned to one side.

Good posture only has one appearance, but poor posture comes in many unattractive styles.

How Guelph Rehab Can Help you?

Some Exercises to Help Correct Posture

Chin Retraction

Begin by grabbing a chair and siting straight with your feet touching the floor. After a few deep breaths, raise your chin to the ceiling without nodding. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times provided the exercise is pain free. Repeat 3 – 5 times daily.

Shoulder Squeeze

Begin sitting or standing tall with your back and neck straight. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as far as you can go without pain and provided you feel no more than a mild to moderate stretch. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times provided the exercise is pain free. Repeat 3 – 5 times daily.

Pelvic Tilt

Lie on your back with your knees bent and both feet flat on floor using your abdominal muscles, press your low back into the floor. Do not lift your hips or let your tailbone roll up off the floor. Hold this position briefly. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times provided the exercise is pain free. Repeat 3 – 5 times daily.

Importance of Good Posture

Changes occur naturally in your body as you grow older. These changes can influence your posture and make it more difficult to maintain a good posture or correct a poor posture. 

Some of the physical changes that may occur:

  • The disks between the spinal segments become less resilient and give in more readily to external forces, such as gravity and body weight. 
  • Muscles become less flexible. Compression and deterioration of the spine, commonly seen in individuals with osteoporosis, causes an increased flexed, or bent forward, posture.
  • Lifestyles usually become more sedentary

Sitting for long periods of time shortens various muscles, which results in the body being pulled into poor postural positions, and stretches and weakens other muscles, which allows the body to slump. Despite the changes that occur naturally with aging, good posture can be maintained and, for many, poor posture can be improved. Individuals with severe postural problems, such as poor alignments that have existed so long that structural changes have occurred, the poor posture can be kept from getting progressively worse. In any case, all of us must consciously work at achieving and maintaining good posture as we grow older.

Tips for Maintaining Good Posture Throughout Your Life.

  1. Throughout each day, concentrate on keeping your three natural back curves in balanced alignment.
  2. Keep your weight down; excess weight exerts a constant forward pull on the back muscles and stretches and weakens muscles in the abdomen.
  3. Avoid staying in one position for long periods of time; inactivity causes muscle tension and weakness.
  4. Sleep on a firm mattress and use a pillow under your head just big enough to maintain the normal cervical—neck—curve. Avoid use of oversized or several pillows.
  5. Exercise regularly; exercise promotes strong and flexible muscles that keep you upright in a proper postural position.
  6. Protect your back by using good body mechanics; bend your knees when picking something up or putting it down; carry a heavy object by using two hands and keeping the load close to your waist.
  7. Wear comfortable and well-supported shoes. Avoid continuous use of high-heeled or platform shoes, which distort the normal shape of the foot and throw the back’s natural curves out of alignment.
  8. Walk with good posture; keep head erect with chin parallel to the ground, allow arms to swing naturally, and keep feet pointed in the direction you are going.