5 Steps Toward Better Posture

At some point in your youth, you’ve been told to “sit up straight” or “not to slouch.” There is wisdom behind this, as you may find out later on, as sitting poorly can lead to muscle and joint aches and pain. Pain and tightness in the neck, shoulders, back, and pelvis can be caused or exacerbated by poor posture over a long period of time. 

At the most basic structural level, the position of our head, spine, and pelvis is important. The spine has natural curves that should be supported while we are sleeping or sitting. If the curves are too exaggerated or flattened, there will be more stress on the ligaments, muscles, and discs. Over time, repeated and prolonged stress on these structures will lead to disc injuries and muscle spasms and tenderness. 

Posture and the Pelvic Floor

The pelvic floor is composed of muscles, ligaments, and nerves that can become tight or irritated due to injury, trauma, or simply poor alignment of the spine and pelvis. Sitting with a “tucked pelvis” with a rounded back can shorten these muscles and place abnormal pressure on the tailbone. In pregnancy, the position of the pelvis is very important, as it can affect the baby’s positioning. 

5 Steps Toward Better Posture

  1. Focus on the position of your pelvis first. The pelvis should be comfortably centered with a small curve in your low back. In sitting, you will be directly on top of 2 bony ends on the bottom of the pelvis, known as the “sit bones.”
  2. When sitting in chair, make sure that your hips and knees are level and feet on the floor. Place a lumbar cushion in the small of your back so that you’re able to lean back against it. 
  3. Your shoulders should be relaxed and positioned over your pelvis when sitting. 
  4. With breastfeeding, make sure that you’re using a breastfeeding pillow and additional cushions as needed to avoid leaning forward or rounding the shoulders.
  5. Get up frequently. If you’re sitting for long periods of time, try doing ankle pumps or calf raises to prevent swelling in the feet and ankles. 

Reach me if I can answer any questions on physical therapy, serving you locally in New York City or anywhere online virtually through “telehealth“.

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