Ergonomics To Avoid Postural Syndrome

Most individuals in western society spend a large amount of time in a seated, slightly rounded position. Whether it is driving in our cars or seated at our desks, the repeated positions we adopt can progressively lead to episodes of discomfort, pain, and limitation throughout our entire spine. This is called postural syndrome, it has no one single cause and often is related to accumulated stress and strain to the body.

You might feel:

    • Symptoms can extend throughout the entire thoracic spine
    • Stiffness to neck, arms, upper back, and even the hands
    • Often described as an ache or sharp pain
    • Can experience limited tolerance to sustained sitting or standing positions
    • Typically a gradual onset of symptoms

Possible causes:

    • Common in those that sit for long periods of time for work
    • Rounded shoulders with a forward head
    • Decreased postural endurance
    • Decreased postural awareness

Things to try:

    • Postural training
    • Manual therapy techniques to cervical and thoracic spine
    • Specific corrective exercise to address dysfunction and weakness
    • Work station ergonomic modifications
    • Avoiding sustained positions for greater then 45-60 min
    • Relaxation techniques such as “belly breathing”

Every individual and every episode of postural syndrome is very unique. The treatment suggestions listed above include several options to try and see how they may improve your situation. In addition, a thorough evaluation by a physical therapist can help identify specific features about your condition and how to best manage them. Understanding as much as possible about your current condition is a very important aspect of the recovery process and will empower you to take the necessary steps to get back to your normal activities with as little discomfort as possible.

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