Our lifestyle has a huge effect on our posture and alignment. Most tasks that we perform force us to work in a flexed or bent forward position, such as when we are working at a desk, taking care of children, writing/reading, etc. Lifestyle is not the only reason why posture changes or can be affected but is one of the main factors.
Common postural changes include the head and neck migrating forward past the shoulders, the shoulders rounding forward, the upper back rounding forward into what may look like a “hump,” and the lower back losing its natural curve.
Posture retraining takes time, but it is well worth it to avoid future pain and injury. Posture retraining involves balancing the strength and flexibility of opposing muscles (i.e. back vs. chest muscles). For example, when the shoulders round forward, the chest muscles become tight (pectoralis muscle), and the back muscles, especially rhomboids and middle traps, become over lengthened and weak. The physical therapist would then focus on stretching the chest muscles and strengthening the mid back musculature. Although strengthening and stretching are huge components of the posture retraining, the practicing of appropriate when seated, standing, and walking is vital to success. Your physical therapist will give you ways to monitor your posture throughout the day and home exercises to ensure your success.