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Pain from Postural Dysfunction

The positions we assume during the day are considered to be habits (some good, some bad), and your body will adapt to these positions. For example, are you the type of person that tends to stand with the majority of your bodyweight on one leg with your pelvis sagged off to one side? This can greatly affect the muscle strength and flexibility and disrupt proper alignment of your leg. As a result, the rest of the kinetic chain can be affected and you may suffer from back pain in the future. In the clinic, we see quite a bit of postural dysfunction as a source of pain and instability. Thankfully, we can offer treatment that can address pain and kickstart healthier daily habits.

One common pattern we see is known as upper body crossed syndrome. This term refers to a forward head, rounded mid back, and tightness across the front of the chest. Some may also be familiar with this posture also being known as “text neck.” This can lead to unnecessary pressure on the spine, back pain, tension headaches, and even shoulder impingement. With every few degrees your head moves forward, it increases the weight supported by your neck muscles and bones.

Upper body crossed syndrome can also be detrimental to anyone suffering from osteoporosis, as this rounded posture greatly increases the risk for a vertebral fracture. These various dysfunctional patterns can be addressed with Physical Therapy. We are able to assess numerous factors and provide treatment to help reduce pain and increase mobility.

Working on postural dysfunction is something we should all try to incorporate into our daily lives in an effort to reduce or prevent pain and gain a sense of confidence in the process. To improve posture, start by making some small changes to your daily routine:

  • Stand tall, lifting through the chest and opening the collarbone.

  • Avoid standing on locked out knees and, or hips.

  • Keep your body moving. Set a timer to get up every 30 minutes from your desk or couch to change your position and stretch.

  • Adequate sleep and proper nutrition can also have a big influence on our posture. Muscles need fuel to help hold you up and sufficient rest to recover each day.

While we are not meant to maintain optimal posture for 8 hours straight, making some small changes will help your body combat malalignment. If you or someone you know could benefit from further education and treatment for postural dysfunction, give us a call 757-578-2958 or book an appointment online at At RTC, our therapists will help identify specific needs and provide a personalized treatment plan to improve posture, strength, and mobility to get you on the right track!

Contributed by Ashley Scifres, DPT


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