4 Postural Pitfalls Pilates Can Help You Avoid

postural pitfalls to avoid Nov 14, 2021
Modern life and the pandemic, in particular, are responsible for a lot of tragedy in the world and unfortunately, our posture is another casualty of this.  Pilates is associated with promoting good posture which is essential for so many reasons.  Here are 4 pitfalls to avoid that may compromise your posture and lead to painful back, hip, neck and shoulder conditions. The first one is:

Pandemic Posture

Working from home has lots of advantages and was something many embraced at the start of the pandemic.  Working in your pyjamas, cutting out the commute and fewer distractions are all very appealing but there is also a downside to this new way of doing business.  I see many of my clients suffering from a range of aches and pains caused by a poor setup of their work station.  In general, offices are dedicated workspaces and are close to being the ideal setup.  The pandemic meant that suddenly, a laptop placed on the coffee table or the kitchen bench like our friend in the picture above, became the new workspace.  The sofa or kitchen stool became the office chair.  At first, this wasn't too bad but as time went on the aches and pains began and their posture was compromised.  My Pilates sessions became about helping them get on top of these aches and pains and work out the best way they could maintain good posture while they worked at home.  Thankfully most of my clients were able to purchase the appropriate office furniture along the way which allowed them to work efficiently without causing permanent injury.  If you are putting up with a home office situation for work or study which is destroying your posture and leaving you vulnerable to injury, see if you can make the necessary changes.   It's essential to sit comfortably with good back, neck and shoulder support as you work.  It's so much better to do this now rather than dealing debilitating injuries in the future. 

Computer Neck

This is a condition that has been around ever since people started spending the majority of their workday sitting at a desk working on a computer, so I've seen it on a regular basis for several years now.  It's characterised by the head jutting too far forward out of alignment with the spine as if craning to look forward at a computer screen.  Our skulls are designed to sit comfortably on the top of our spines so that everything around it can function efficiently.  When the weight of the average human head is around 5 kilograms you can imagine what happens when you develop computer neck.  The weight of the head being pulled forward puts the muscles and nerves at the back of the neck under great tension as well as putting strain on the joints of the upper spine.  The muscles at the front of the neck can't work as they are designed to either.  This can lead to headaches, jaw problems, arthritis, cervical disc issues and upper and lower back pain among many other conditions.  I've worked with hundreds of people over the years who have been dealing with this condition and it's possible to improve this posture and correct any muscles imbalances.  My online Pilates studio caters to helping you establish and maintain the best possible posture for you so you can work efficiently at your computer without compromising your health.  If you stand side on to a mirror and take a look at your posture note the position of your head and the curve of your upper back.  You will see if your head is too far forward from the alignment of the rest of your spine.  If you want to correct that posture now is the time to begin your Pilates journey and I can help you with this.

Texting Neck

As if computer neck isn't bad enough with the invention of smartphones along came texting neck.  This is like computer neck but the neck juts forward and then down. Ouch!  This one causes all the same issues as computer neck but in a more extreme form.  It also affects younger people who spend hours in this position on their phones. It's often seen in a standing position which means the posture of the whole body is constantly being compromised.  The classic position when checking or sending a text message is head forward, face parallel to the floor which means your skull is not only out of alignment with your spine but is in some cases close to a 45 or 60 degree angle to the spine.  Over time, this forward position creates muscles imbalances similar to computer neck and can affect the entire body.  Try bringing the phone up to eye level instead of dropping your head.  Take regular breaks and don't stay in one position for any length of time, break it up.  The damage you can do to your spine with prolonged texting in this position over time can lead lead to permanent damage spinal damage. Therefore, it's worth taking the time to ensure you are using your smartphone in a way that is not detrimental to your long-term health.

Socialising Slump

Spending time with family and friends is one of life's greatest joys but sitting in awkward positions for long periods of time at social events can really play havoc with your posture and cause unnecessary pain.  When everything opened back up after the recent Sydney lockdown several of my clients fell victim to socialising slump.  Sitting on hard restaurant benches with no back support or on a picnic rug in the park for hours on end was enormously enjoyable at the time but can result in aches and pains afterward.  Fortunately for my clients, we were able to work towards getting them back on track quickly but for people who don't practice Pilates, these aches and pains can become chronic.  A little forward planning when you go to a social event can ensure you have a wonderful time, maintain good posture and stay pain-free after the event. Work out what you need to do personally such as sit on a picnic seat at the park if you can't keep good posture on the ground.  Find ways to break up the sitting at a restaurant, such as checking your car, going to the bathroom to check your make-up.  If you are in a large group stand up to talk to someone at the other end of the table. Get creative. It's your health and you need to protect it.
As you can see just taking some extra care and attention to how you approach each of these situations can really help you to maintain good posture and avoid injury.  It's so much easier to prevent injury at the time than having to deal with it in the future.  Many people don't realise just how much damage can be done to their posture in these everyday situations.  My online Pilates program is designed to give you the tools you need to strengthen your core, glutes and whole body. This makes you strong, resilient and able to manage and control any aches and pains that may develop along the way.  It also helps you to develop body awareness so you know straight away when you are in a position where your posture is compromised and you are at risk of injury. 
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