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Posture is something that a lot of health professionals address with patients who come in for neck pain. Those of you who have been to a physiotherapist, would have a bit more knowledge about posture and biomechanics of the back and neck. However, the way our society is progressing, with the development of technology and the resultant jobs that are produced from technology, our occupations are becoming more sedentary. I believe the result of this is that physiotherapists are now dealing with a lot more postural issues throughout the age spectrum.
Children have access to iPads and computers from an early age, at school and at home. Prolonged periods of sitting at computers, using iPads/iPhones and other iGadgets can cause a great strain on the neck and back (especially if slouching), muscles and spine. Not only is it the use of these technologies, and our sedentary occupations, it is also a lack of awareness/knowledge about posture and the correct way to be sitting and standing. Many companies now have policies in the workplace to address these issues. However, I feel there is still a huge percentage of our population who do not know the basics of correct posture.
Poor neck posture can be characterised by:
• Slouched upper back (thoracic kyphosis)
• The chin sticking out (chin protrusion)
• Increased curvature/extension of the neck (increased cervical lordosis)
• Rounded shoulders (protracted shoulders)
Symptoms include but not limited to:
• Burning/aching pain on the musculature of the neck base of the skull, across the shoulders, and in the upper back
• Worsening pain with sustaining a position for a period of time (sitting, standing, driving, cycling, etc.)
• Pain can be alleviated with movement or changing position
• Stiffness in the neck and upper back
• Tightness with shoulder movements
There are many different approaches that are used to treat pain caused by poor posture. Preventative measures also can be put into place to avoid the production of pain. Your Physiotherapist will conduct a subjective and objective assessment to confirm the diagnosis and provide treatment and advice relevant to your individual needs.
Treatment can consist of, but not limited to:
• Education on posture and how to correct/retrain
• Prescribe exercises to improve strength, flexibility and stability
• Manual therapy in the form of massage, mobilisations, manipulations, etc.
• Electrotherapy (ultrasound for example)
• Dry needling
• Taping or bracing
• Ergonomic assessment and/or advice
• Activity modification
• Biomechanical correction
• Lumbar rolls, air cushions, (and other aides depending on your individual needs)
• Clinical Pilates
The prognosis for pain caused by poor posture is great (depending on patient compliance, as well). So if you feel you have poor posture that you would like to get help with, please contact our clinic on 47 233 552.
Brukner, Peter., & Khan, Karim. (2012). Clinical Sports Medicine. NSW, Australia: McGraw –Hill Australia