North Shore Pediatrics
Educational Library

Posture

  1. Definition:
    Posture refers to the position in which the body parts are held relative to one another. Good posture is a state of muscular and skeletal balance which protects the supporting structures against injury or progressive deformity. With proper body alignment, muscles function more efficiently and optimum positions are provided for thoracic and abdominal organs. Thus, good posture effects total body well-being. Postural deviations are common and result in increased strain on supporting structures and decreased efficiency as the body balances over its base of support.
  2. Importance:
    Good body alignment allows the body to be at its most efficient position. It is especially important to maintain good posture during static (non-moving) upright activity. A person with good posture will feel less fatigued and may avoid pain because good posture decreases the stress on joints and musculature which support the body weight against the force of gravity.
  3. Risk Groups:
    Everyone risks pain and excessive fatigue if they display poor posture because all people are constantly subject to the force of gravity acting against joints and muscles of the body. People with disease or damage of the musculoskeletal system may be predisposed to develop particular posture deformities and thus must be posture conscious at all times. Habit and heredity may also contribute to poor posture.
  4. Management:
    Goals of treatment are to maintain proper muscle length and joint mobility. This may be accomplished through alignment, strengthening, and stretching.
  5. Climbing Stairs:
    Stand erect while climbing, using your strong leg muscles. Avoid leaning forward as this may put a strain on back muscles and cause fatigue. Use the hand rail for additional support to aid in avoiding back fatigue. Take rest stops on the stairs. Pace yourself.
  6. Desk or Table Work:
    Make sure your table or desk is positioned at a proper work height for you, so that you do not have to bend. Always directly face the task. Turn your whole body toward the object and pick it up using arm muscles, not back muscles. A swivel chair may help make repetitious turning easier. Use a lumbar roll or a chair with good low back support. This will aid in preventing strain on your back. Prolonged writing should be done with the paper propped up at an angle, as on a drafting table or tilted desk top or by using a clip board.

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