mercredi 28 juin 2017

How should you stand?

When you’re in line at the grocery store, how do you stand? What posture do you have? Are your neck and back leaning forward? The next time you stand for a few minutes in a row, consider the position of your body in space. It may bring you some pain!

Indeed, everything in our bodies is interconnected – including the musculoskeletal (MSK) and related neurological systems. The posture can have an important impact on the MSK system’s ability to function as it should. It has direct consequences on joints, muscles, ligaments and invertebral discs.* Thus, in good posture, the invertebral discs, muscles and joints undergo less pressure and less stress: the risk of back pain diminishes and the spine wears out less.

Above all, it is essential to understand that there is not a single ideal posture, since each of us has a different size and morphology. This means that the ideal posture for you is one in which your back suffers the least possible stress. In your ideal posture position, your spine is naturally and evenly curved.*

Standing, your posture should be straight: the body should be symmetrical and body weight should be evenly distributed between the front and back. Here are some tips to maintain a good posture:

  • Your spine will be in a neutral position: it will have a slight natural curvature in S and you will not feel any tension in the lumbar region
  • Move: exercise, stay active!

Some examples of poor posture:
  • Kyphosis:
    • The shoulders and upper back are rounded, the head protrudes downwards and the neck forward, and the basin is pulled forward. The thoracic, lumbar and cervical regions have excessive curvature.* The pain is in the thoracic region (upper back).
    • A stiff posture (military style): head tilted backwards, high chin, tight shoulders, bulging chest, tension in the back, locked knees. This posture causes muscle tension in the area of ​​the neck, shoulders, middle and lower back.* Pain is experienced in the thoracic (upper back) and lumbar (lower back) areas.
  • The lordosis:
    • Flat pelvis, the head protrudes forward with neck extended slightly. Decreased curvature of the lumber spine. Pain is concentrated in the lumbar region (lower back).
    • Hollow back: the tailbone points backwards, anterior pelvic tilt and the hips flexors are tight. Thespian protrudes forward. Pain is concentrated in the lumbar region.

Poor postures can lead to chest, neck and lumbar pain, headache, muscle tightness and weakness, and knee and hip pain. Poor posture can also decrease respiratory capacity.* It is true, however, that some bad postures are created by birth defects and can not be corrected.

In addition, excess weight increases stress on the spine, since the center of gravity is moved forward: the pelvis tilts abnormally forward and the muscles of the back must compensate. By exercising regularly, these muscle tensions will decrease and your posture will improve. 

Do not forget that there are ideal postures for any position: standing, lying, sitting. This article refers to the standing posture. We have already discussed the sitting posture in the article on work ergonomics. The next blog post will elaborate on the best posture lying down.

*Reference: Prévenir et soigner le mal de dos. British Medical Association. Éditions Broquet. 2014.

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