Correct Posture can Reduce Neck Pain

Posture is the position of your body when you perform activities. It describes how your spine is aligned with your head, shoulders, and hips. 

Most cases of neck pain have a posture component as part of the underlying problem. In such cases, recognising and understanding poor posture can play an important role in relieving neck pain. 

What is poor posture? 

Poor posture is an asymmetrical or non-neutral body position. Poor posture occurs when your daily activities cause some muscles to be tight (short) while others are weak (long). This imbalance in muscle strength can cause your posture to become misaligned. 

The longer the poor posture continues – such as sitting hunched over in front of the computer or on the couch – the more likely you are to experience neck pain, stiffness and other symptoms. 

Symptoms of poor posture 

Symptoms can include: 

  • Rounded shoulders
  • Bent knees when standing or walking
  • Head that is tilted either forward or backward
  • Body aches and pains
  • Muscle fatigue
  • General fatigue
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pain in the shoulders, neck or lower back
  • Decreased mobility
  • Regular muscle cramps and spasms
  • Headaches due to tension
  • Numbness in your arm, tingling or nerve pain
  • Injuries to your wrist or hand from repetitive stress such as typing, golf, tennis, contact sports or playing a musical instrument

If you have pain, stiffness, or muscle spasms in your neck, shoulders or upper-back, book an appointment with a Physiotherapist at The Back Clinic.

Types of poor posture 

Increased stress on the cervical spine  As the head is held forward in poor posture, the cervical spine must support increasing amounts of weight. 

Hyperflexion and hyperextension The lower cervical spine goes into hyperflexion, with the vertebrae tilting too far forward. The upper cervical spine, on the other hand, does the opposite and goes into hyperextension because the brain automatically keeps the head up so the eyes can look straight ahead. 

Muscle overload Some muscles of the neck and upper back must be constantly overworked to compensate for the pull of gravity on the forward inclined head. As a result, the muscles become more prone to painful strains, spasms and cramps. 

Hunched upper back Forward head posture is often accompanied by forward shoulders and a rounded upper back, which can lead to more pain in the neck, upper back, and shoulders. 

Treatment for posture correction 

Treatment for poor posture focuses on improving or maintaining the function of muscles, joints and other soft tissues. It aims to reduce pain and improve movement. 

Physiotherapy – Posture correction physiotherapy focuses on increasing muscle strength and loading your postural muscles so they can withstand the stresses of everyday life. Treatment includes: 

  • Retraining of posture and movement
  • Preventive or supportive taping techniques
  • Stretching and mobility exercises for joints and soft tissues
  • Supportive bracing
  • Targeted manual techniques for joints and soft tissues
  • Muscle strengthening exercises and training 

Daily lifestyle changes – Daily bad habits like slouching and inactivity lead to muscle fatigue and tension, which ultimately lead to poor posture. Pay attention to your posture as you go about your day: 

  • Don’t slouch at your desk
  • Avoid ‘text-neck’
  • Do not recline your seat when driving a car
  • Keep your back and neck straight when walking
  • Keep your core muscles tight and use the correct form while exercising
  • Make sure your mattress is supportive enough to keep your spine straight when lying on your side
  • Use a pillow that supports your neck
  • Keep your back straight and use your thigh muscles when lifting heavy weights
  • Wear flat, supportive shoes and save high-heels for special occasions

For more info on treatment, request a call by filling out the contact form below. We will respond to you shortly.

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