Postural Syndrome

Postural Syndrome: Ergonomics To Avoid Back Pain

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 sitting 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.

Symptoms Of Postural Syndrome:

    • 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 Of Postural Syndrome:

    • Sitting for long periods of time 
    • Rounded shoulders with a forward head, typical with sitting at a desk 
    • Decreased postural endurance
    • Decreased postural awareness

How Can Physical Therapy Help:

To alleviate postural syndrome symptoms with your physical therapy treatment, your physical therapist may suggest the following: 

    • Postural training
    • Manual therapy techniques to cervical and thoracic spine
    • Specific corrective exercise to address dysfunction and weakness
    • Workstation ergonomic modifications
    • Avoiding sustained positions for greater than 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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