Your Posture Matters
Your Posture Matters
Let's take care of it together!
What is posture?
Your posture is your position when you are lying, sitting, standing or moving over every 24 hour period. If you lie, sit and stand well, and move your body often, you will be taking care of your posture. This can:
- Help avoid muscle and postural changes
- Help avoid acute or chronic pain
- Help your internal body systems function as best as they can
- Your posture throughout the day and night will impact on the shape of your body
Little Tip: It's never too late to make a difference!
Posture Fast Facts
Why posture matters 24 hours a day
Understanding the impact of posture to the shape of your body is very important whatever your age.
Everyday activity such as using your mobile phone, sitting at your computer or watching TV can create a posture that effects your body’s natural alignment. This causes physical stress to the body which can cause pain, discomfort and even deformity of your spine
It’s particularly important to be aware of someone’s posture if they can’t adjust their position independently. Changes in body shape can affect someone’s physical and mental wellbeing including their ability to eat, drink and breath well.
Little Tip - don’t stay in the same position for too long.
Why your posture might change
Posture changes can make it difficult to manage without help and support.
Here are some reasons why your posture might change:
- Adopting poor habitual positions
- Becoming older
- An injury, disease or condition which affects the way your brain works
- Conditions of the bones or muscles that can develop as we get older
- Born with a health condition or disability.
You or someone you care for could be at risk of developing unwanted postural changes. However, it’s never too late to start doing something about it.
Little Tip - why not look at your posture and positions over a day and night?
Reducing the risk of postural change
You can reduce the risk of unwanted postural changes if you aim for a variety of symmetrical and well supported positions throughout the day and night.
You want to be as upright as you can sitting, as tall as you can standing and as stretched out as you can lying down. Wherever you are, make sure that you are comfortable and supported.
Did you know you spend 2,500 hours lying in bed each year? This is a great time to lie well and be comfortable. You will benefit throughout the day from a better sleep.
Little Tip - are there any positions you think you need to change?
Size matters—aim for a well-fitting and supportive chair or wheelchair to help you participate in activities.
Things to check:
- Is you head supported
- Is your body in contact with the back rest?
- Do you need lateral chest supports, to help you sit upright?
- Are your feet supported with suitable foot rests?
- Are your arms supported with appropriate arms rests at a the correct height?
- Are your thighs supported?
Little Tip - if you are having difficulty with sitting upright, you can ask for a healthcare assessment.
Categories of products on Living Made Easy that might help your posture with sitting
- Wooden & Metal Framed Chairs and Sofas
- Armchairs & Sofas
- Chairs that Rise or Recline
- Multi-Positioning and Support Seating
- Durable Bedroom and Living Room Furniture
- Perching Stools
- Riser Cushions
- Combined Back and Seat Cushions
- Footstools and Leg Rests
Rest and play matters—how you lie overnight affects your posture during the day.
- Is your mattress supportive?
- Are your pillows supportive?
- Avoid positions that leave you tuck, sore or stiff
- Use pads/cushions/pillows to keep you stretched out, supported and comfortable
- Change your position more often
Little Tip - if you are having difficulty lying stretched out, you can ask for a healthcare assessment.
Categories of products on Living Made Easy that might help your posture with lying
- Profiling Beds
- Non-Profiling Beds
- Foam Mattresses
- Air Mattresses
- Sprung Fibre and Combination Mattresses
- Foam Overlays
- Air Overlays
- Water Fibre Gel and Combination Overlays
- Foam Cushions
- Air Cushions
- Gel Fibre Water Bead and Combination Filling Cushions
- Back Supports for Beds
- Posture Supports for Beds
- Back and Neck Supports for Beds
- Combined Back and Seat Cushions
Stretching our muscles and loading our bones matters - stand as often as you can for as long as you can.
- Appropriate footwear and splints can make a difference
- Use your equipment as advised, e.g. wall rails
- Be active in standing
Little Tip: if you are having difficulty standing up tall, you can ask for a healthcare assessment.
Categories of products on Living Made Easy that might help your posture with standing and walking
- Standing Frames
- Walking Sticks and Canes
- Tripods and Quadrupods
- Walking Frames
- Rollators and TriWalkers
- Walking Aids Accessories
Walking & Moving
Moving about as much as you can matters - try not to sit still for extended periods. Weight bearing activities are good for improving strength, mobility and for maintaining strong bones.
- Use a walking aid e.g. a stick
- Ask someone to help you transfer into your walking aid if needed
- Wear splints if you’ve been given them
- Wear supportive and well fitted footwear
- Never walk in socks or tights on hard floors in case you slip
Little Tip: if you are having difficulty walking, you can ask for a healthcare assessment.
Time to seek advice?
It’s important to know when to get in touch with a physiotherapist or occupational therapist who can help you take care of your posture.
Here are some examples of what you might need help and advice with:
- You lean to one side when sitting or lying
- You feel your leg muscles are stiff or tight
- You need someone to help you change your position
- You get stuck in the same position when lying or sitting down
- You’re always uncomfortable, sore or stiff
- Your level of independent mobility is changing
Remember: your posture throughout the day and night will impact on the shape of your body.
Words and images taken from the health campaign: Your Posture Matters Campaign by NES - NHS Education for Scotland
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