Recent news about COVID19 has brought anxiety, worries, and fear to many people. We face stress on a daily basis, but especially in this present situation the stress level has heightened for many.
Our response to stress influences the body. In fact, there are postural changes in response to stress. the we are currently living in a very stressful time.
Our emotions reflect in our posture. It is especially seen in shoulders and thoracic cage, and can influence the entire body. It’s called emotional body language.
Have you ever experienced your shoulder coming forward and your back rounding when you are down and depressed?
Other postures that are commonly seen are people who are confident that keep their sternum (breast bone) up and head raised up. This posture is seen in people who does weight lifting and/or people in the military. It is called, “military posture.” The picture shows various posture and its emotional significance. Do you see anyone with these postural patterns?
Recently, a patient told me, “I have been anxious lately and have difficulty breathing. I was tested negative for COVID19, but it feels like my chest is bound down.” Upon observation, her sternum and rib cage were depressed down and restricted in motion.
These postural changes occur consciously or unconsciously. Many of the changes in posture due to emotion is temporary; however, it can lead to problems if it prolongs and becomes habitual. For example, when you are feeling down and your shoulders come forward, your back will round and your head will follow coming forward.
Such a posture will put strain on your neck and shoulders. When your posture deviates from neutral alignment and becomes a holding pattern, there will be undue stress to your muscles and joints. Ultimately, there will be decrease in muscle flexibility, joint range of motion, and muscle strength. You trunk core muscles will also be inefficient.
Furthermore, postures can actually influence your emotions just as the emotions affect your posture. Therefore, when you are stuck in a depressed posture your negative feeling may also prolong and can become a vicious cycle.
We, at FuncPhysio is currently doing TeleHealth, which allows us to evaluate and treat via live online video. We observe patient’s posture and movement, and prescribe individualized exercise and stretching, self-massage/treatment, postural and body mechanic training, and advice on nutrition.
Please contact FuncPhysio if you are interested.