Taking steps to better posture

Jun 03, 2009

Poor posture can lead to loss of shoulder range of motion, chronic pain, walking deficits, neck-related headaches, and the inability to exercise, warns Greg Thielman, PT, EdD, assistant professor of physical therapy at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. In keeping with National Correct Posture Month in May, Dr Thielman offers the following tips to help patients improve their posture:

Poor posture can lead to loss of shoulder range of motion, chronic pain, walking deficits, neck-related headaches, and the inability to exercise, warns Greg Thielman, PT, EdD, assistant professor of physical therapy at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. In keeping with National Correct Posture Month in May, Dr Thielman offers the following tips to help patients improve their posture:

•Evaluate your workstation. Rather than buy an expensive ergonomic chair, position the chair you have to provide lumbar, shoulder and, if needed, head support.

•Perform daily exercises. Regularly exercise the large muscles on the front and back of the thigh and the abdominal muscles. Perform 3 exercises each day:
1. The pelvic tilt tightens and strengthens the abdominal muscles. While sitting, push your pelvis back into the chair, hold it for 3 seconds, and then relax.
2. Chin tucks realign the spine and combat forward head position. While sitting, place your pointer finger on your chin and push straight back. Be sure your head is not tilted up or down.
3. The lean back exercise combats the effects of constantly bending forward while performing tasks at workstations. To straighten the spine, stand up, place your hands on your lower back, and lean back.

•Wear supportive shoes. Avoid wearing high heel shoes. Look for shoes that cover the top of the foot. The key is to find ones that work for you and provide overall support.

For more of Dr Thielman's posture recommendations, visit the University of the Sciences Web site at http://www.usp.edu.

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