We’ve all heard we should have “good posture” or been told to “stand up straight”… But what does that really mean? And why is it important?

All of us have different postures we naturally fall into. These can become problematic if they place added stress at a particular point in our body, leading to aches, pains and even potential injuries. So, with that in mind, let’s talk about postures or ways we can position our body to reduce the stress in different areas.

When looking at standing posture we like to see a ‘straight line’ from our ear, shoulder, hip, knee through to our ankle. This indicates weight is equally distributed through our major joints.

When looking at sitting posture we like to see a ‘straight line’ from our ear, shoulder through to our hip. The hip and knee should be at 90 degrees (right angle) and our feet flat on the floor. If we are sitting at a desk our shoulders should be relaxed with our elbows at 90 degrees and our line of vision straight ahead (i.e. not looking down at a laptop).

Common areas we see pain or injury as a result of poor posture include:

Neck – Neck position can be easily corrected by prompting a slight ‘chin tuck’ and strengthening through the neck and shoulders.

Shoulders – Shoulder position can be corrected by squeezing your shoulder blades together, while also being mindful to remain in a relaxed and comfortable position.

Hips/Pelvis – Hips/pelvic position can be corrected tilting the pelvis so we are sitting on the ‘sit-bones’, and engaging in core strengthening exercises.

A Physiotherapist can thoroughly assess your posture and provide you with appropriate corrections and tips to maintain those corrections in your day-to-day life. They will also provide strategies to prevent injury, as listed above, that are specific to your current issues. 

Simple measures that may assist your posture include regularly changing positions, having an appropriate ergonomic set up at work or home, and participating in regular exercises.