What is a Neutral Posture?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 16 February 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
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Neutral posture occurs when the entire body is positioned in such a way that all joints are in a neutral stance; that is, the muscles, tendons, nerves, and ligaments surrounding those joints are at rest and neither flex nor stretch. The body relies on neutral posture to function most efficiently, and is less likely to incur injury or strain due to poor posture if neutral posture is regularly observed. Office furniture is very often designed to promote neutral posture as workers sit throughout the day, and anyone suffering from chronic back issues should attempt to correct poor posture to avoid future issues.

Various parts of the body bend in different ways to attain neutral posture. The forearms, for example, are at neutral when the thumbs of each hand face up and the hands themselves are not facing either up or down. The fingers of each hand are at neutral when the fingers are slightly bent and not pressed close together. Perhaps the most troublesome part of the body to get into neutral posture is the spine, which should take on an S-shape. The lower back should be positioned slightly inward, and the upper back should be positioned slightly outward. The spine is affected by many muscles throughout the body, so it is most often out of position.

Ergonomic furniture has been developed to promote neutral posture and correct bad posture habits. Sitting for long periods of time can wreak havoc on one's posture, often leading to pain throughout the body. An ergonomic chair features lumbar spine support as well as neck support to keep the body in proper position while sitting. Adjustable arms on the chair can help the arms remain neutral, and the chair's height is adjustable to allow the legs to reach neutral positioning. It is important to remember, however, that an ergonomic chair alone cannot correct one's posture. Proper exercise and stretching is also in order.

Sitting or standing for long periods of time can tire out muscles throughout the body, and when muscles tire, they tend to tighten. Tight muscles can in turn pull the body out of correct posture, leading to different types of pain. To avoid this, one should always get up and move around after long periods of sitting. This keeps the muscles from weakening and tightening, and it gets blood flowing throughout the body. Regular stretching and exercise keeps the muscles strong and limber, meaning they will be more effective at holding the spine in position.



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