Postural strain is the result of constant poor posture, (for example desk and computer work), and/or repeated movements involving poor posture (for example working on a laptop or tablet or in a tight space). Over time, this leads to straining of structures in the head, neck and back and is one of the most common and deeply imbedded causes for patients to present to the clinic.
Posture is the most talked about and the least understood aspect of human design despite likely being one of the most widely effecting and important body system to your health. It is so incredibly defining to general health and wellbeing, but is often only understood in terms of general appearance and physical performance or a sore neck and shoulders. Posture is not only linked to how we look but how we feel, how we interact and engage with others, it is also extraordinarily important for the correct and efficient functioning of other body systems such as digestion, respiration (breathing), cardiovascular and hormonal function, and many systems beyond strain and discomfort directly experience in your muscles and back.
Research indicates that our posture and the ability to move is directly linked to wellbeing and potential life span. Postural age exists in a different paradigm to chronological time orientated age and is a foundational predictor of many illnesses including heart disease, diabetes, risk for certain fractures and falls and other serious systemic disease.
At Head Above Osteopathy we practice ‘Postural Neurology” which assesses the function of the nervous system and creates clear objective measures of how well it is functioning. Postural neurology is a practical, objective, measurable, and scientific approach to treating the human design and allows a clearly defined purpose for treatment with an equally clear demonstration of improvements from your immediate presentation in clinic.
When you attend the clinic for ‘Postural Neurological Assessment” expect rigorous testing and measuring of your sensory system, movement, balance, co-ordination, and of course your alignment. These will all be recorded and used to produce a report of findings toward creating a treatment and management plan to improve posture and work toward postural fitness and life long postural competence. These goals are not unobtainable and are in fact our given birth right, it is however ironic that in the modern and so called advanced world we live in that the state of postural declining is increasing and affecting people more seriously and younger than ever. Technology has raced ahead and left the ages old human design in a mess, in fact postural decline is directly proportional to the rate and spread of interface based technological leaps.
Head Above Osteopathy offers you the unique opportunity to take steps to improve your posture with the most comprehensive and direct means possible by assessing the place where it all the starts ‘Your Brain’. Once your level of postural health is defined, a combination of structural alignment and brain based postural exercise is prescribed showing you the path toward reclaiming your birth right of retainable and perfect postural design.
Symptoms of postural strain
The symptoms of postural strain include:
- Stiffness/tightness in the neck, back and shoulders that is not relieved with massage or stretching
- Lower back pain due to increased curvature associated with hunching
- Hunched appearance
- Reduced range of motion in the neck
- Poor mechanical respiration
- Loss of vertical height
- Digestive issues
- Reduced self awareness and self-esteem
- Transient reduction in cognitive ability
Causes of postural strain
Ergonomic factors are a major contributor to postural strain and include:
- Inadequate chair height and/or back support to prevent slumping
- Prolonged driving or sitting in a couch/other seating conductive to slumping
- Unsuitable computer set up (i.e. mouse/keyboard too far away, monitor too low/high)
- Unsuitable office organisation (i.e. phone, stationary equipment etc. out of reach, too low/high)
- Fatigue/insufficient breaks from sitting or other straining activities
- Lack of an ability to exert dynamic postures such as sitting and standing at will or accessing regular postural breaks
Treatment and management
Your osteopath can assist to relieve and reduce the potential for future postural strain in a number of ways, including:
- Education to increase your awareness of posture and ergonomic contributors to poor posture and postural strain
- Identification of ergonomic and lifestyle factors to eliminate the causes of postural strain
- Modifications to workstations or training
- Osteopathic treatment of muscles & joints for relief of tension & improved flexibility
- Prescription of stretches and exercises to improve posture and reduce postural strain
This information on symptoms, cause and treatment and management of postural strain is provided for you in a fact sheet linked here.