Physical therapists are people too and we succumb to the same problems as everyone else. It’s really easy to slouch, and despite knowing better, I do it anyway. I am fortunate to work at Rose Physical Therapy Group, a place where I not only give, but also receive healing tools, such as postural training (I’ll share some of the tools I use to keep good posture in just a bit)!
I spent years in school learning the importance of good posture. Yet, here I sit after another work day, slouching back into my couch, curling down over my laptop, crossing my legs, and inevitably, feeling my shoulder pain.
I know how important proper posture is- whether it be when sitting on the couch, sleeping, standing, walking, or working. With my job, I move around throughout my day so desk ergonomics aren’t my greatest problem. But, instead my body mechanics during movements are paramount. Despite my ergonomics training, as the day goes on and the fatigue sets in, I still find myself dropping my belly button forward and rounding my shoulders, all while educating clients not to do the same. The best part of it all is knowing I will have to tell my own physical therapist, my amazingly skilled co-worker down at our Half-street location, that part of the reason my shoulder still hurts is because I slouched all day. One would think I would be super diligent about my trunk posture after recently receiving a few rounds of a procedure (PRP) aimed at fixing muscle tears in my shoulder. But, alas, I’m human.
I have been told the same thing by more people than I can count over my lifetime - “Stop! work smart, not hard.” With that in mind, I recently promised myself I would modify my environment and ergonomic habits to set myself up for success. It has been amazing how a few small changes yielded such large gains. The best and easiest changes so far have been:
- A pillow behind my low back in my chair or couch when sitting
- Placing my work stool and back against the wall when conversing with clients
- Checking to see that both feet are flat on the floor when changing manual therapy techniques or clicking on a new email
- Moving my bed against the wall so that I can prop myself when sleeping if my body is overly fatigued
- Checking in with my shoulder and head position when passing something reflective such as the full-length mirrors in our treatment rooms
While I still have a long way to go with ridding unwanted habits and developing strength, these changes have already lead to longer periods without pain. I am encouraged and hopeful that the combination of self-monitoring, ergonomic changes, and the help of supportive co-workers and company will be the magic formula to getting me back to a 100% fully active lifestyle!