If you are a physician or surgeon at the beginning of your medical career, the importance of healthy posture might be the last thing on your mind. But attending to it when going about your daily work is vital to ensure your body will be at peak health later. Here is a brief guide to help you know how to protect your body and enhance your long-term professional efficiency by practicing good posture.
What Is Good Posture?
Simply put, posture is how you hold your body while standing, sitting, or lying down. To adopt good posture, you need to train your body to stand, sit, lie, and walk in a way that imposes the least strain on muscles and ligaments while performing weight-bearing activities. When you slouch, you add stress on your spine, which may result in chronic back pain. Your spine position plays an important role in having a good posture. Once you maintain a good posture, the muscles surrounding your spine are balanced and can support your body equally.
Main Types of Postures
What are the different types of posture? Good posture can affect how you feel. In other words, proper posture contributes to more confidence and a higher energy level. Being aware of your posture type can significantly help you improve your posture. Posture falls into two general categories. Here are the main types of posture with definitions.
It is how you hold your body while moving, including walking, running, pushing, pulling, squatting, balancing, or bending over to pick up something. Good dynamic posture aligns the body with various movements and minimizes the progressive strain on muscles, tendons, and ligaments. It distributes the load among muscles and minimizes physical fatigue.
It is how you hold your body while not moving, like when you are standing, sitting, kneeling, or sleeping. It is also called “static loading,” as it involves physical exertion in which the same position is held throughout an activity. Static postures intensify the load on muscles and tendons compared to dynamic postures. They may decrease blood flow to the muscles and prevent the body from undergoing the natural restoration and repair process repair.
Why Is Posture Important for Doctors?
Physicians, dentists, and surgeons are frequently subject to musculoskeletal (MSK) disorders. “MSK” is a broad term, including nearly 200 various conditions affecting the muscles, joints, and skeleton. According to Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance (ARMA), over 10 million adults, and 12,000 children, have a musculoskeletal condition in England today. Based on a study published in Medical Archives, 80% of Saudi surgeons surveyed reported MSK conditions because of performing surgery, with the neck and back most likely to suffer symptoms. Similarly, a review of 40 studies published in the Annals of Medicine and Surgery showed that out of 5,000 surgeons, 68% reported generalized pain, with the back, neck, and upper arms being the most frequently affected. However, to our surprise, both studies show pain associations with minimally invasive surgery rather than open surgery. These MSK conditions may have consequences beyond physical pain. In some cases, symptoms force surgeons into early retirement. In other cases, some MSK problems result in surgeons needing an operation themselves and taking extended leaves of absence. If they go undiagnosed and untreated, such posture issues can negatively impact your medical career.
How to Adopt a Good Posture?
Even if you have failed to adopt a good posture for years, it is always possible to make improvements. “Better posture is often a matter of changing your activities and strengthening your muscles,” says Saloni Doshi, a physical therapist with Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
- Practicing good posture can significantly benefit your overall health and help you postpone retirement as a medical practitioner. Harvard Health states that holding your body correctly and maintaining posture can help prevent pain, injury, and other health problems that might arise from work conditions.
- Good posture generally involves the following:
- Maintain your chin parallel to the floor, your shoulders even, and your spine lying in its natural curves when standing. Your arms must be at your sides with your elbows even and straight. Keep your hips and knees even, with your knees pointing straight ahead. You should also avoid shifting your weight unevenly from one foot to the other.
- While sitting, keep your chin in line with the floor, your shoulders, hips, and knees even, and your feet pointing straight ahead.
Although it may appear easy to follow the instructions, medical practitioners typically face difficulty maintaining good posture. According to the Medical Archives, medical operations often require practitioners to adopt an awkward posture for long periods. It is generally caused by the enormous stress they deal with during operations. Besides, they need to perform frequent repetitive motions, which leads to MSK problems in the long term. To reduce the risks of MSK issues, medical practitioners must learn how to implement ergonomic guidelines in the operating room. Fortunately, in recent years, robotic approaches to surgery have considerably reduced the number of incidents resulting in surgeons’ MSK disorders. Further development of this surgical method can undoubtedly lead to a substantial future risk decline.
General Guidelines to Improve Your Posture
Many people spend a lot of time sitting, so it is important to sit properly and avoid bad posture habits. At first, you may find it hard to maintain a proper posture, but with some practice, it will be second nature to sit and stand correctly.
- Choose comfortable, supportive footwear.
- Try to adjust operation surfaces at a comfortable height.
- Take short breaks, mainly if you are sedentary for long periods. Change positions frequently, take a short stroll, and stretch lightly to lower the buildup of tension in our muscles.
- Avoid crossing your legs while sitting down. Keep your feet on the floor and relax your shoulders. It is essential to hold your elbows close to your body. MaEnsurehe seating units support your back, thighs, and hips well.
How to Improve Your Posture off Work
Maintaining proper posture is not limited to your workplace. It is essential to keep these tips in mind while off duty. To prevent posture-related issues, take the following into account:
- Always scrutinize your posture: Try getting into the habit of observing and examining your posture while going about your daily routines. The more consciously you recognize your improper posture, the better you can change it.
- Engage in regular physical activity: While physical exercise is helpful, yoga and tai chi can significantly cultivate good posture. Do exercises that strengthen the core muscles in your back and abdomen. Regular physical activity can also help you lose excess weight, which may cause postural problems by weakening stomach muscles. Excess weight can also result in back pain as it causes problems with the hips and spine.
- Practice posture-enhancing exercises: You can surf the web to find hundreds of guides for doing exercises that improve your posture. Such guides offer directions for poses like bridges, planks, hip flexor stretches, and back extension exercises. These exercises may help improve the most common posture problems.
Following the tips and instructions above can greatly enhance your posture, improve your health and prevent possible MSK problems. However, once symptoms are exhibited, a cure is vital. According to the report published by the Annals of Medicine and Surgery, nearly one-third of surgeons require treatment for their MSK complaints. So, if you are one of them, it is wise to seek the help of a professional soon to avoid further postural disorders.