To Stand Up Straight Again

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How you stand and hold yourself, not only makes a difference to the way you look — but more importantly, the way your body feels. Poor posture can lead to a wide variety of problems such as chronic backache, headache and even repetitive strain injury. Lower back pain is a common consequence of poor posture.

What is good posture? Good posture should be effortless and involuntary — most babies and animals have perfect posture. Posture is defined as “a position or attitude of the body.” It is difficult for most people to always maintain good posture. However, good postural habits help to reduce the postural pain syndromes previously mentioned.

Making behavioral changes that affect posture is important and over time can relieve chronic pain. Optimal results are gained by working the muscles that affect structure, so the body adopts or regains its “minimal energy alignment.”

Despite our mothers always telling us to stand up straight, over time, our fast-paced lifestyles, increased stress and improper postures have resulted in muscle tightness. People who spend their days in front of a computer or at a desk may develop rounded shoulders and a forward tilted head. The shoulders are aligned more with the chin than the ear and the ear can be in line with the toes. The result is shortened and tightened upper body muscles.

Different exercise and stretching regimes to improve posture can help you look and feel your best. But first, it is important to determine your postural faults. This can be done through several simple posture tests conducted by a licensed physical therapist.

Posture screening tests will be conducted free to the public at the Majestic Rim Apartments on Tyler Parkway at 2 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 4 and at 11 a.m., Sunday, Aug. 14 at the Senior Center. Tests will be conducted by the Payson Care Center rehabilitation staff and will include Plumb Line Approach and Body Landmark Comparisons. You can also call the Payson Care Center at (928) 474-6896 and schedule free screenings that include balance screenings, senior fitness testing and posture screenings.

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