Michael Edwards: Posture, Posture, Posture
This is sponsored content from Shore Golf Performance.
Posture. It changes everything! I’m a huge advocate, or annoyance (just ask my wife), when it comes to having great posture. I’m so passionate about posture, and you should be too, because it literally changes everything! It has an impact on you physically, mentally, and emotionally. I bet reading this you have already physically changed your posture which required you to think about your current body position thereby affecting the way you feel. See the chain reaction, or better yet, feel it? Okay! Now, try maintaining that good posture throughout the rest of this read. Go on… shoulders back, chest upright, hinge from the hips… good!
Posture, like the word “core,” is an often-generalized term that we use, but do we really know what good posture is or what having a strong “core” even means? After this read you will:
1. Gain knowledge on important anatomical structures that play a role in posture
2. Understand why posture matters
3. Learn a few simple tips on how to improve your day-to-day posture
Let’s go back to school for a minute, anatomy class in particular. What physical/ structural components play a role in maintaining a good posture? Better yet, let’s take a look at your current posture. See!? I bet you already returned back to your more comfortable, slouched position. Don’t worry, this is normal, but it is going to take these constant reminders to create awareness and promote a change that will impact the rest of your life (you’ll thank me one day).
See how I got distracted? Well, that’s life, but we have to create the awareness to recognize those distractions when they come so that we can make the adjustment… in this case, your posture. And once you do, the next distraction comes, 5 seconds later, and you slump right back into your old ways.
Okay, back to school.
Physically, your spine plays the most crucial role, the thoracic spine in particular. See, an increase in your thoracic spine kyphosis leads to an increase in your cervical and lumbar lordosis which can, and often, leads to increased neck and low back pain, respectively. “Okay, what did he just say!?”
Essentially, the spine is made up of three sections… cervical (upper), thoracic (mid), and lumbar (lower/ low back). Your thoracic spine, the middle of your back, plays the most important role because everything stems off of this. The more rounded your mid back the more physical changes occur further away such as increased compression on your neck and low back, rounded shoulders and a forward head position. These are a few, of the many, physical changes that occur from you simply being slumped over and having poor posture. It’s like a domino effect.
Think about your thoracic spine as a foundation upon which everything else is built upon. Similar to a house, if there are problems with the foundation that will likely lead to other problems. However, simply fixing “the other problems” is not fixing the root cause of the problem, the foundation. Therefore, you can address your neck and low back pain and whatever other secondary problems may exist, but nothing will change if you don’t fix the root cause of the problem… the thoracic spine… the foundation.
Why does this matter? One, because it is preventable! Furthermore, your posture, like pain, changes everything and poor posture will lead to secondary issues that over time become harder and harder to correct unless you choose to do something about it. It’s a choice. However, before you choose there has to be awareness which is what you are creating here by reading this article. Once the awareness is there, the rest is up to you and I’ll gladly be your guide along the way!
There are simple things you can think about doing throughout your day-to-day activities. Sit up straight. Mind blowing, right!? Begin to create awareness of your body position throughout your day. What position is your spine in? Are you slumped, curved, or leaning to one direction? Are you trying to “steal my girl?” Okay, squirrel! Steal My Girl by One Direction is a great hype song though. YouTube it!
Literally, take note on what position your body and spine are in when sitting in the car, in your office chair, on the couch, sleeping, walking, etc. Now, note how long you are sitting in these positions and multiply that by days, weeks, and years. See where I’m going? If you don’t create the awareness, your ability to choose won’t come and if you don’t choose, well, gravity will cause things to go south, literally. The longer you don’t choose, the bigger the impact gravity will have on the spine, and the more fixed and rigid the spine will become thus making it much more difficult and longer to correct once you do decide to make a change. So, sit up tall and get those shoulder blades back!
Lastly, move and stay active. The body is meant to move, unless you are on your 4th or 5th move in Twister.
So, to recap, posture changes everything, literally. The way you think, feel, move, and act. Your body has to physically work to maintain good posture. Thanks gravity. It’s important to have a basic understanding of the structures that play a role in fighting gravity, mainly your spine. More importantly, simple, daily steps you can take that will go a long way include:
1. Being aware of your body and spine position
2. Sitting up straight
3. Changing positions often
4. Move often.
Small and repeatable action steps overtime create consistency and habits and those habits are what lead to change and a better lifestyle. Who doesn’t want that!?
One of my favorite quotes is “nothing changes, if nothing changes.” In order for change and growth to occur, awareness is needed first. Awareness that there even is a problem. Once aware, the choice is yours. I hope you choose wisely. We have one body on this earth and how you care for it now 100% will impact the way it treats you tomorrow.
Until next time, take care and God Bless!
Edwards is a Doctor of Physical Therapy who recently moved from North Carolina where he has practiced for 5.5 years.
He is an orthopedic physical therapist who specializes in golf injury rehab and prevention/ performance. He is TPI Medical 2 certified and certified in dry needling.
Edwards has worked with golfers of all ages and skill levels, from juniors to recreational golfers to even PGA professionals.
He is a proud supporter of the Rex Hospital Open and the Korn Ferry Tour where he served as a physical therapist for the players in 2019 and 2021.