What Happens When the Body is Not Aligned?
Poor posture, or postural misalignment, occurs when there are imbalances in the tension and length relationship of the muscles. This can lead to the load bearing joints and the pelvis being shifted from their correct positions. This can cause an array of negative side effects, including ankle pain, back pain, and can also affect the organs. When something causes an imbalance, the muscles designed to carry weight can atrophy because they are not being used and the opposite muscles become too strong, pulling the body out of alignment. Common postural changes can include hip or shoulder elevation which makes one higher than the other, rotation of trunk or hip which causes one to move in front of the other, knock-knees and bow legs.
How Does Poor Posture Affect the Seated Worker?
Technological changes since the 1950’s have reduced overall physical activity levels and increased the time spent in sedentary behaviors. This transition has altered our work force from light and moderate manufacturing to seated office work. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are over 21 million people in office and administrative support occupations, over 3 million in computer and mathematical occupations, over 6 million in business and financial occupations, over 6 million in management occupations, and over 9 million in transportation and material moving occupations. These numbers are likely to be higher as they do not include people who are inactive in other industries such as architecture, engineering, sales, sciences, legal, and heath care. Today, 86% of Americans sit all day at work with the average American sitting 13 hours/day. Although these changes in technology were initially created to improve efficiency and productivity, serious health concerns have developed. Our therapists understanding of these health concerns is current and well founded as it is evolving rapidly. At RestoreRehab Physical Therapy, our therapists focus on addressing the needs of the seated worker with the goal of ergonomic intervention implementation based on recent research in this area.
How Can Physical Therapy Help?
The physical therapist will assess the patient’s symptoms and compare their postural alignment with an ideal alignment model. Each patient’s posture and physical mobility will be examined and connections to any discomfort felt with be addressed. Using the information collected during the assessment, the physical therapist will create an personalized exercise and stretching program designed to correct the specific issues the patient is facing. In addition, our physical therapists provide assessment and education of physical behavior, which may be contributing to poor posture.