Forward flexed, or stooped posture is common issue with Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson's can impact your ability to feel that you are standing upright. This stooped posture has been associated with increased muscle rigidity or stiffness. Components of this posture include a more forward head, rounded shoulders, flexed trunk, and bent knees.
Your posture may change throughout the day. You may notice that it is harder to stand tall during "off" times of your medication, when you have been sitting or standing in one spot for a while or when you are working on doing 2 things at once.
How can poor posture affect you?
Can lead to difficulty speaking loudly and clearly
Can make it difficult to take a deep breath
Can lead to swallowing issues
Can make it hard to move your neck and trunk for activities like driving
Can be a pain in the neck....or back....or hip...or TMJ...or a cause of headaches
Can lead to decreased strength in your posture muscles
Which can ultimately lead to decreased balance and falls as you have your weight shifted more forward.
The Good News .....You can change your posture!
These exercises work best when spread throughout the day rather than one and done and can assist with restoring alignment of your body to improve your mobility. Both stretching and strengthening are helpful in achieving this goal.
Stretching and Strengthening are both important!
Stretching and flexibility of flexing muscles of the chest, shoulder, waist, hips, hamstrings and calves.
Strengthening of back muscles, shoulder and other muscles that help keep the spine erect.
Postural awareness and proprioception (building awareness of your posture) exercises to increase the person's awareness of body position in space
You can use a mirror for feedback on your posture, checking in throughout the day. Having a loved one, family member, or friend remind you when you are more stooped will help build more awareness of this posture. The most important part is to get that feedback regularly to help retrain your brain to stand tall.
Liz has made a video to going over exercises that can help you stand tall. Also below are those exercises written out.