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Tue, Aug. 20

<I>Sit up straight!</I><BR>Proper posture is where good health begins

Physical therapists Jennifer Ackzen and Becky Privitt pose with a model of a spinal column at Northern Arizona Ortho Sports in Prescott.

Courier/Les Stukenberg

"Everything comes from the spine."

In the same sense, Privitt said, posture is "something you live with every single day. Poor posture can cause enormous pain and disability."

She said some people walk around in tremendous pain and discomfort and don't believe that something as simple as correcting their posture can help stop the pain.

But, she said, "changing something like posture can be the answer."

"Pain," she said, "is just your body telling you to change something."

However, both Privitt and Ackzen pointed out that humans don't have to reach the point of pain. They said posture education can help prevent problems down the line.

"It's something we're not aware of," Privitt said. "We're young and we don't hurt, so we don't think about posture." And, she added, "if it doesn't hurt, we don't fix things."

Sitting too long at a computer, allowing the head to move forward and over-extending the back can lead to pain. Ackzen said, "once you're told, it kind of sticks in your mind."

Each person is different, and likely has his or her own problems with posture. But with the strengthening, stretching and awareness that physical therapists such as Ackzen and Privitt can provide, the patient can find what both women referred to as a balance of strength and flexibility that will increase overall comfort and energy.

Once again, imagine a tree – this time, a tree with a sturdy trunk and branches reaching toward the sky.

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