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Diana Remaley, LMT
Diana@RemaleyMassage.com
(203)292-5362
19 Compo Road South
Westport, CT

Standing Posture

Are you standing as tall as you should be?

We often think of sitting all day as a killer on the body; but standing incorrectly can be just as detrimental. In this entry, I'll explore two common standing postures, why they are negative for the body, and correct standing posture.

Bad Example #1: Here, the body's pelvis is tilted toward the back. The tilt is tiny, but notice that it creates a cascade effect for the rest of the body: The knees are hyperextended (locked), the abdominal muscles are not engaged, the shoulders are slumped backward and the neck is not relaxed.

This type of standing posture will often lead to lower back pain, due to the fact that the lower back muscles are not allowed to remain in their soft curved position. This will also lead to abdominal muscle strength loss, as well as tension in the upper back and front of the neck.

 

 

Bad Example#2: In this image, the body's pelvis is tilted forward. This tilt looks more severe, but to the person tilting, it probably doesn't feel as exaggerated. Notice a similar muscle pattern occurs here; the knees are hyperextended, the abdominals are not being used correctly, and the shoulders and neck are forced to go back to compensate.

This type of posture will also lead to lower back pain, although I've seen people live with it for a long time. That is, it might take years before this type of posture begins to show signs of pain. Again, the neck and shoulders are especially affected by this type of repeated misuse.

 

 

 

Good Example:

The knees are gently bent, the pelvis is straight, the abdominals are pulled in tightly, the neck is pulled up from the shoulders, as in a straight line.

Here, keeping the knees slightly bent reduces fatigue on the front and back thigh muscles. I often hear clients say that their thigh muscles hurt MORE when they try to adopt this posture. I'll agree, that TEMPORARILY, you might notice discomfort when moving away from hyperextended knees. HOWEVER, this is not because the position is wrong for your body; it's merely because prior to that point, you were relying only on the strength of the knee joint to hold you up, whereas keeping the knee slightly bent relies on the muscles to keep you standing. Those muscles simply need to get stronger, and you will no longer feel pain.

Keeping the pelvis neutral can't be underestimated. This is done most easily by pulling in the abdomen; pulling your belly button toward your spine. You may notice that just this simple adjustment makes you stand a little straighter, and may even immediately reduce lower back pain. A good practice is even keeping your abdominals in while driving in your car. And hey, the more you get used to keeping them in, the easier it will be!

Finally, the neck and shoulders. This is the area I struggle with most, especially toward the end of a long day. We often let our shoulders round and slump, which pushes the neck forward. We then have to push our foreheads back just to keep from falling over! The best posture here is imagining a string pulling your entire body up from the crown of your head. This should instinctively pull your shoulders back, and your chin straight, reducing pressure on the entire upper body.

Posture is a constant battle against gravity. And if we observe elderly friends, we notice that eventually, gravity wins. However, if we pay attention to our posture and develop good habits now, we can keep that physical force at bey. More immediately, we can strengthen our muscles and hopefully, reduce pain!

I'm happy to discuss posture more at your next massage therapy session. We can compare poses and you'll see I'm far from perfect too! The key is to always keep trying to improve. I'll see you at my Westport office!

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Diana Remaley, LMT
Diana@RemaleyMassage.com
(203)292-5362
19 Compo Road South
Westport, CT