Improving Bad Posture
Baylor Regional Medical Center at Grapevine celebrates April as National Occupational Therapy Month. If you could glance in a mirror right this instant, what would you see? Hunched shoulders or a straight back? If you’re like many Americans, you’ve developed a bad posture that could come back to haunt you in future years.
Bad posture can lead to health problems including disc problems of the spine, chronic pain, numbness and tingling of the arms and legs. For sedentary people or those who work a desk job each day, bad posture can account for time missed from the job.
Posture problems can be corrected. “One of the most common posture mistake occurs when the head, neck, shoulders and back are no longer kept in a neutral or upright position when sitting or standing for prolonged periods,” said Ed Rauschuber, an occupational therapist at Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation at Grapevine.
For people who spend a lot of time behind a desk, Rauschuber says a simple way to correct bad posture is to make sure your chair fits your body dimensions. When sitting in your chair:
● Feet should be flat on the floor.
● Knees should be at a 90-degree angle.
● Hips should be at a 80-90-degree angle (imagine a staircase forming from your lower legs to upper body)
● Allow an approximate 2- to 3-inch space between the backside of your knees and the front edge of the chair.
● Make sure you have good lumbar (low back) support for the curve of your back.
● Sit upright against the backrest of your chair. Avoid slumping your shoulders forward and keep your head directly over your shoulders.
● All desk and computer equipment should be adjusted to the individual’s physical dimensions of height, arm length, etc.
● Do not use armrests when typing on the computer or using the mouse. Rather, keep elbows directly beside the body. If possible, remove the armrests from the chair if you spend more than a couple of hours on the computer each day.
Daily exercise is important too. “Our bodies are in need of exercise in order to withstand daily physical and emotional stress,” Rauschuber said. “Physical fitness is just as important as good posture.”
For more information regarding occupational therapy or other therapy services offered, please call 1.800.4BAYLOR or visit Baylor Health Grapevine.
Baylor Regional Medical Center at Grapevine is a full-service, fully-accredited not-for-profit hospital serving residents in more than 20 cities throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth region. Focused on being the best place to give and receive quality, safe and compassionate care, Baylor Grapevine works to lead the transformation of health care. The 276-bed hospital offers advanced medical services for cardiovascular services, women’s services, oncology, neurology, spine care, orthopaedics, diagnostic imaging, neonatal intensive care, intensive and emergency care.
About Baylor Health Care System
Baylor Health Care System is a not-for-profit, faith-based supporting organization providing services to a network of acute care hospitals and related health care entities that provide patient care, medical education, research and community service. Baylor recorded more than 2.8 million patient encounters, $4 billion in total operating revenue, $5.2 billion in total assets and $494 million in community benefit in fiscal year 2010. Baylor’s network of more than 300 access points includes 27 owned/operated/ ventured/affiliated hospitals; joint ventured ambulatory surgical centers; satellite outpatient locations; senior centers and more than 150 HealthTexas Provider Network physician clinics.