Due to hurricane damage, the Havelock location is closed until further notice. Havelock therapists Hannah Zhang, Sarah Hall and Judy Hickes are available to see patients at the New Bern location. Please call the New Bern location at (252) 636-9800 to discuss your care.

6 posture-improving benefits of seeking a local physical therapist

Your posture refers to how you position your body. Your musculoskeletal system refers to the bones and muscles connecting your body parts. If the muscles and bones of this system are in alignment, it allows you to hold your body in a proper position. For example, if you bend forward whenever you check your phone, then your muscles and bones may not align in the proper way. Over time, this improper alignment may make your body more inclined toward that position, leading to poor posture.

To improve your understanding of the benefits of physical therapy for poor posture, you need to know two key posture types.

2 types of postures

There are two types of posture: dynamic posture and static posture. Dynamic posture is how you position your body while you’re moving. Movements that involve dynamic posture include ones you do every day like walking or picking up objects. 

Static posture is how you position your body while remaining still. For example, your posture is static when you’re standing, sleeping and sitting.

Having either poor dynamic or static posture can affect your health in the long run. For example, they can both lead to chronic or persistent pain, which can last for several weeks or several years. Some examples of poor posture-related chronic pain include: 

Each day, the average U.S. adult spends over three and a half hours looking down on their phone. If you look down at your phone each day, then your muscles and bones may not align well. As discussed earlier, your body may gravitate toward this improper alignment, which can lead to poor posture and any or all of the three types of chronic pain discussed above. 

It’s important to seek treatment early if you have poor posture. Doing so can help you avoid various types of chronic pain and other issues. Physical therapy is a treatment option that can help you treat your poor posture in a proactive manner and avoid chronic pain and other issues.  

6 benefits of using physical therapy to help improve your posture

Need treatment for poor posture but want to avoid medications? Here are six benefits of seeing a physical therapist to help improve your posture:

  • Personalized experience — Physical therapists can locate the specific cause of your poor posture and design a treatment plan that best fits your needs. For example, if you are hunched over on your computer each day for several hours, then muscles at the front of your neck and in your chest are always in a shortened position. As a result, the flexibility of those muscles may decrease. 

Physical therapists offer exercises focused on stretching your muscles. By doing these exercises, you can help stretch your shortened chest and neck muscles and help your body be more inclined toward a proper position.

  • Improved muscle strength and flexibility — Some physical therapy exercises for posture can focus on the muscles of your musculoskeletal system. For example, motion exercises focus on improving your muscle flexibility. Your muscle flexibility depends on the mobility of your joints and soft tissue. To improve the mobility of your joints and soft tissue, physical therapists offer a technique named joint mobilization. Let’s look at a joint mobilization example. 

If you hunch your shoulders to look at your phone each day, then your shoulder joints may be tight. In joint mobilization, your physical therapist will place their hands on your shoulder joints and move them through their normal range of motion. This assisted movement can help loosen them. By helping your shoulder joints move normally, your physical therapist can also improve the flexibility of the muscles that move your shoulders. This means that it may be easier for you to sit up straight when you need to look at your phone.

  • Improved muscle strength — Muscle strengthening exercises can help strengthen your muscles and improve your balance. For example, let’s say you bend your back forward for a long time while working on your laptop. Over time, this action may weaken your back muscles, making it harder for your back muscles to straighten. 

Your physical therapist can focus on these specific back muscles by having you do muscle strengthening exercises that work them. Your physical therapist may also guide you through how to do strengthening exercises for other muscles that can affect your posture. Some of these exercises may focus on your abs and other core muscles. When the right muscles are stronger, it may be easier for you to position yourself upright when working on your laptop.

  • Improved balance and coordination — To help improve your posture, physical therapists offer balance and coordination exercises. Your ability to balance relies on your muscles’ ability to coordinate their movements (work together). But being in poor posture positions for long periods can cause your body to “forget” how to coordinate certain muscles properly. That can be a problem. After all, you need your muscles to work together when you’re doing daily activities such as cooking, cleaning, and brushing your teeth. 

Through balance and coordination exercises, your physical therapist can help you develop better muscle coordination. The improvement in coordination can make maintaining good posture easier. This improvement could also help you complete daily activities more easily, which can increase the quality of your life.

  • Improved awareness — Physical therapy for poor posture can help you become more aware of your body’s position on a daily basis, so that you can quickly correct your posture when necessary. For example, you may have a tendency to look down at your phone when checking your email each day. Your physical therapist can help you be aware of such tendencies and work to help you be more conscious of them. As a result, you may be more likely to recognize that you’re doing that and change your position by sitting up straight and lifting your phone up to eye level.
  • Reduced likelihood of future injuries — Through frequent muscle stretching and strengthening exercises, you can develop more resilience to injuries. For example, let’s say the muscles around your shoulder joint are tight because you have been hunched over at your desk regularly. Your physical therapist can show you exercises intended to both stretch your shoulder muscles and strengthen them. If the muscles that support your shoulder joint are stronger and more flexible, it may be easier for you to maintain better shoulder posture while working at your desk in the future. Your stronger, more flexible shoulder muscles are also less likely to be injured by other tasks like lifting boxes, too. 

4 physical therapy techniques that can help improve your posture

Here are four physical therapy techniques that physical therapists can use to help improve your posture:

  • Therapeutic exercises — Two types of therapeutic exercises include posture exercises and balance and coordination exercises. Posture exercises focus on correcting your body’s alignment. Posture exercises can also reduce pain and strengthen the muscles that stabilize your spine. According to research, participants reported lower pain levels for their shoulder and back after an exercise program.

Balance and coordination exercises are vital for your bone and muscle health. Through these exercises, physical therapists can help improve your overall stability. Having better stability can prevent falls and other injuries and make staying in good posture easier.

  • Ergonomic training — In ergonomic training, a physical therapist can help improve your awareness of the positioning of the tools you use in your home or work setting. Such tools include your chair and your computer monitor. For example, let’s say you have back pain from being hunched over at your computer each day. A physical therapist can help you improve the setup of your office to encourage better posture and potentially reduce your back pain. This may involve changing the position of your computer monitor to be at eye level or incorporating more breaks into your workday.
  • Aquatic therapy Aquatic therapy occurs in a pool or other aquatic setting. One benefit of this technique is that the warm water can help by making it easier to loosen up tight muscles. A heated pool also exposes your body to water’s hydrostatic pressure (the gentle pressure that pushes inward when you get in the water). This gentle inward pressure can improve your blood flow and remove inflammation-causing fluids. Aquatic therapy sessions may start with warmup exercises such as walking for a brief period, then move to strengthening exercises. Doing these strengthening exercises in a pool can make them easier to do since the water is helping to hold you upright. As a result, you can strengthen posture-related muscles in your back and other areas and possibly feel less soreness afterward.
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)Electrical stimulation involves your physical therapist placing electrodes on specific areas of your body. Low-current electricity passes through these electrodes into your nerves. This technique can cause a tingly or prickly feeling, but should not cause pain. Your physical therapist will use the results from a physical examination to inform your treatment. In one study, researchers found that TENS can improve spatial orientation and control of posture in patients.

Peak Performance can help with posture correction through physical therapy

Need a physical therapist for posture correction? As an Alliance Physical Therapy Partner, Peak Performance forms a part of a network of physical therapy clinics. Our team values competent, compassionate care. At Peak Performance, we show this care through our personalized treatment plans. This means that a physical therapist can engage with you in a direct way by evaluating your posture and creating a plan, using effective PT modalities, to help you improve it. 

Call us or request an appointment today for more information about our physical therapy for posture correction.