Weekly Cup of Joe - Episode #3 - Posture
Read the transcription for this video:
Good morning, everyone! And happy Wednesday. Welcome to your third episode of your Weekly Cup of Joe. My name is Joe King. I'm the owner of Physical Therapy Advantage in North Aurora and this week's question comes from a former client of ours---Sandy, who wants to know how can she improve her posture as she's aging. Sandy, that is a great question. And as physical therapists, we get asked that question all the time. So, we're going to start with the basics. So we're going to bring on our handy dandy spine here. And most people, start out with good posture when they're younger and we have four curves in the spine. We have a little in curve in the neck, and out curve in the mid-back, and in the curve in the low back and an out curve over your tailbone; your rear end.
So it's 'S 'shaped; that's the way it's supposed to be. But as we get older, as we get into teenage years and up, because of poor posture, because of jobs, because of what we're doing, things like cell phones, computers, food, preparation, cooking all the time, plumbers, electricians, labourers, everything's out in front of us. So our posture becomes so much more forward at that time. So we get pulled in that position, which is not good at all. So over time we just keep going and going. The muscles in the front get shorter and shorter. tighter, and tighter. The muscles in the back get stretched out more and more and get tighter and tighter. And they start pulling on that spine abnormally.
The next thing you know, you've got a nice in the front, forward head position, the head becomes more here and we become more and have a flattened back. So we lose this curve here, we lose that, and that becomes more flattened and its more like that. And that's what we start to look like as we age. So to try to correct that, you want to start to think about, you want to line up our ear holes with the mid of our shoulders, with the mid of our trunk and our hips. So we're more in this position more frequently. We don't have to be in Force-gun military position all the time, we just need to keep that good alignment more frequently throughout the day. You can't be in correct posture 24-hours a day, but we can be in that position more frequently throughout the day.
So what you can do is set alarms on your watch, cell phone, and computers. So every 20 to 30 minutes, the alarm goes off and you're going and going and, you just say, oh I can just sit up and reposition myself. You can leave sticky notes on your computer screens, kitchen, bathroom, wherever you're at a lot during the day; dashboard of your car, whatever it may be. That if you're, especially, if you're driving kids around all the time, you can set those reminders up so that you see it and all send a visual reminder and you'll reset yourself.
The more that you can reset yourself more frequently throughout each day, over the course of time, this becomes more normal to you instead of this being your normal natural posture. And so, you won't have that slouched position and feel like, ugh! I don't feel very good and I can't sit up, I can't stand up very well. So if you can do that on a more frequent basis, it'll be extremely beneficial over the course of time. So simple things that you can do are; you can take a hand towel, roll it up, put a rubber bander on it, tape it, whatever you want to do, you can use pillows: small pillows. But you can use those in chairs to help give you some support in that low back region. This would go basically vertical. You see that little vertical on it or you can go even horizontal on your back in the chair, however you want to, to help give you a little feedback to bring you up. They've got things that strap around your chairs you go online to get, doesn't really matter what you use. Just something to give you some support. Car, office chair, kitchen chair, wherever you sit more frequently to give you that support and fill upright. Of course, you can also get things that are out there are posture braces.
Not saying you have to, but they are out there; some people like them, some people don't.
One thing that you can do exercise-wise ---a very simple exercise, is you take a tubing resistance band, mild to moderate to start with; doesn't really matter, sitting or standing, but just making sure you're in a good upright position. You hold your hands, shoulder-width apart, and then you hold it about chest height and you're just going to do a pole part. Keep your arms, maybe elbow slightly bent if you want, you can keep them fully locked. It's up to you but just keep the same distance out there all the time in and out, nice and slow, gently squeezing the shoulder blades. When you get it back, pull it back as far as you can, if you can touch your chest, nice and easy. You do two to three sets of fifteen repetitions of that every day to help strengthen those muscles in the back. There have many others that you can do, but start focusing and strengthening the muscles around your back and your shoulder blade region. That will definitely help as well.
One other thing, queuing-wise, you can do and think about how can I get myself met upright position lining ears and shoulders and the trunk is, you can think about your collarbones. So you can just think about being in this position or a relaxed position. I just want to think about how my collarbones and bring my collarbones up to the ceiling. So if I can just think about raising my collarbones up to the ceiling, it's almost like you're really sitting up and from your low back and straightening up, but just if you could bring your collar ones up to the ceiling, that's a good way to do it. Some people like the idea of taking a piece of hair or two from the top, like you're a puppet, a string and you're just in this position, you're going whoop! Just getting pulled up to the ceiling; whatever works for you. It doesn't really matter. Just something that relates to you, it resonates with you and you're like, oh, I can do that, and that helps remind me to be in a better position. But the key is, consistency is everything in life, especially physical stuff. For exercise, physical therapy, and health-related stuff; self-consistency is definitely the key. And the more times you can do this frequently throughout the day, the better it's going to be. And after even just three or four weeks of it-- it'll take longer than that--- But even after three or four weeks, you will feel so much better and you'll notice your posture is better over the course of even that short time.
Our focus for the week is going to be positivity, and stay positive. Celebrate the small wins. Last week it progressed, not perfection, so you've been taking those small steps forward and now it's moving on with staying positive with those small steps and celebrating your win. So when someone says, hey look at you! They could tell you're sitting up straighter. Why are you sitting up so straight? Or you're taller, whatever it may be. But it's related to you trying to sit up straighter, working on your posture, taking that as a positive and celebrating those wins because the more small wins that you can celebrate, you'll build momentum and things become a lot easier. 'l hope this help this week, and don't forget to continue to send in your health wellness and your PT related questions to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can keep this rolling and, everything else, and just so I can help out as many people; just give it a little tip each week. And we will see you next Wednesday for your Weekly Cup of Joe.