Posture Matters

Health & Wellness • N E W S L E T T E R •

Your Posture Matters

Sleeping positions

Supine

Did your mom ever tell you to stand up straight when you were a kid? She was on to something! Having good posture is important to maintain a confident, healthy body and spine. Proper posture can also decrease discomfort throughout your day and make you feel better overall. What is good posture? Good posture is being in a position in which you hold the body upright against gravity while standing, sitting or lying down. Symptoms of pain and discomfort can be associated with, and caused by, poor posture. Fatigue, tight muscles in the neck, back, arms and leg as well as joint pain and stiffness can all be attributed to poor posture. Posture helps keep your bones and joints in proper alignment so muscles can be properly used. Good posture can prevent muscle fatigue and decrease joint wear and tear that can lead to arthritis. In order to be able to maintain good posture, you must have a few things: • Good flexibility

Signs of bad posture include kyphosis or the exaggerated rounding of the back, a forward head and rounded shoulders, a slumping back, pain in your shoulders and neck, tension headaches, numbness or tingling in your upper extremities. How to stand properly: Evenly distribute weight on the balls of your feet, slightly bend your knees, keep feet about shoulder width apart, stand tall and keep your shoulders pulled back, keep head level with your earlobes and shift weight from side to side if standing for a long time.

Sidelying

Prone

How to sit properly: Keep feet flat on the floor or on a footrest if your feet do not touch the floor. Ensure knees and hips are bent to 90-100 degrees. Ensure back rest is fully supporting upper and lower back and keep shoulders relaxed. If you

How to lie down properly: First things first, make sure your mattress is comfortable for you. Avoid sleeping on your stomach and if you sleep on your side, place a pillow between your legs and keep your spine in a neutral position. If you are more prone to sleep on your back, place a pillow underneath your knees and one pillow

have to sit for long periods of time, ensure that you are taking frequent rest breaks throughout the day and avoid sitting in the same position for long periods of time.

underneath your head. (See Photo) By Brittany, Pullen, ATC, MA, CEIS

• Normal range of motions in all joints • Body awareness enabling you to correct bad postures

Posture Impacts the Cervical Spine The cervical spine consists of seven vertebrae. It has a backwards “C” shape that mimics the lumbar spine. Of all the spinal regions, the cervical spine is the most mobile and enables you to flex, rotate, side bend and extend. The anatomy of the cervical spine is unique to the rest of the spine. It includes two special vertebrae specifically designed for rotation: the atlas and axis.

Axis: the bone that sticks up through the hole of the atlas. This bone allows for the head to turn from side to side. Ligaments between the two vertebrae allow for rotation to occur between the two bones. The cervical spine is very mobile but has a great risk for injury. Without proper muscle support, sudden strong movements can cause injury.

Atlas: the first cervical vertebrae that does not have a vertebral body and is a resting place between the skull and the spine.

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