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Posture And Ergonomics - How Physiotherapy Can Help?

Written and reviewed by
MPTh/MPT, Bachelor In Physiotherapy, Mater of Physiotherapy
Physiotherapist, Delhi  •  16 years experience
Posture And Ergonomics - How Physiotherapy Can Help?

Most people these days spend hours working on computers, owing to the sedentary nature of their jobs. Desk-bound office jobs require you to sit in one place for long hours. This often leads to nerve and muscle tension related to posture. A good posture refers to how you carry your body- keeping your back straight in an erect position, placing your arms and legs in the correct position so that the joints are not bent or twisted.

Unfortunately, most people do not pay attention to correct posture and end up complaining about backaches and joint pain. If you don’t keep your spine aligned, or if your feet do not touch the ground while sitting on a chair, then you may experience pain and discomfort afterwards. The pain is severe in people who work for about 8-10 hours daily while sitting in the same posture throughout.

Signs to watch out for-
Poor posture can result in mild to severe pain. The usual symptoms are-

  1. Lower back pain
  2. Stiffness and pain in the neck
  3. Muscular tension and shoulder pain
  4. Pain in the forearms and wrist
  5. Lumbar disc bulging
  6. Irritation
  7. Pain in the joints (knee and hips)

If these symptoms are not treated soon, then poor posture can lead to chronic health conditions like arthritis, spondylitis, slipped disc etc.

How does office ergonomics help manage your posture?
Most people don’t even realize the importance of maintaining a good posture. A healthy posture not only makes you feel comfortable at work but also prevents muscle-related problems. Here are a few tips to improve your posture at your workplace-

  1. Choosing the right chair is more important than you can even imagine. A chair with proper support system will prevent your back form bending too much, and thereby reduce the risk of back pain. Make sure your back is in an erect position so that your spine does not bend.
  2. Don’t keep your shoulders rounded and don’t bend your neck forward to lean on the computer screen. Otherwise you will have a stiff neck leading to spondylitis. Keeping your shoulders and head straight will prevent shoulder ache and neck stiffness.
  3. It’s important to rest your foot on the ground. If you find it difficult to reach the floor, arrange for a footrest. If the chair is too high for you, adjust it as per your convenience to prevent ill posture. Resting your feet evenly on the floor will prevent leg pain.

How does physiotherapy improve your posture?
Physiotherapy plays a great role in improving poor posture. Physiotherapy evaluates your body mechanism, mobility and strength to determine what exactly needs to be done. The commonly used techniques are-

  1. Joint Mobilization- This is a hands-on treatment technique for musculoskeletal conditions. Usually this method is targeted towards the synovial joints to achieve therapeutic effect.
  2. Dry needling- A needle is inserted gently into your skin to target the muscle that’s triggering the pain. A jump response upon inserting the needle is a good sign. It indicates that the therapy is working fine. It increases blood circulation in the targeted area and helps relax your muscles.
  3. Exercise- Moderate exercises, especially yoga and pilates, are very effective in treating posture-related pain. Yoga poses like bhujang asana, dhanurasana, padmasana stretch your muscles, spine and reduce body pain.

Other than these, frequent walking (at an interval of every 1-2 hours) can help reduce pain and help flex your muscles. Physiotherapy is a safe mode of treatment with much lesser side effects than other conventional methods. A proper diagnosis, treatment and frequent follow ups can improve poor posture and keep you active. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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