I talk a lot about posture on this blog. That’s because I’m a chiropractor and I’m in the business of aligning the spine.
A spine in alignment lets the nervous system can do its job, unimpeded by the dysfunction which arises when that’s not the case. Posture isn’t just about your spine. It’s about the systems related to it and a body functioning at its best.
Does posture influence pain? It’s a broad question and one I’ll attempt here to provide some reasonably nuanced answers to.
Lightening your load
If you sit at work, the load on your lower and upper back are already heavy. But when you sit without thinking about your spine, slouching, slumping and craning your head toward your computer screen, then you’re adding to that load.
What’s more, you may be stressed out. That means that your muscles respond by tightening and when that happens, you can make matters worse with a negligent sitting posture. You may also not be as physically active as you should be and weakened muscles are vulnerable. So poor posture is not the only consideration here.
There’s a complex of influences which lead to a pain response in the body, but when posture is layered on top of those, you’re making matters worse and that’s not lightening your load.
The static problem
An underlying cause of pain in the body is static body positioning. Staying in one position for an extended period takes a toll. Your body was made to move and if it isn’t permitted to do that frequently enough, you’ll notice that things start to hurt.
If you’ve ever been in a lineup to get concert tickets (or even at the DMV), you’ll have noticed that standing in one place brings with it aches and pains. You may think you need to sit, at some point. But what you really need to do is stretch out affected muscle groups. The lower back is one region of the body which will not be happy with you standing for long periods.
You’ll find that if you tilt your pelvis, while bending your knees, the pressure is relieved. To do this, you need to engage your core. Also, lacing your fingers behind your back and pulling your shoulders down and back, while pulling your laced fingers up relieves tension in the upper body.
So, what does pulling in your stomach and pulling your shoulders down and back add up to? Better posture. It’s not brain surgery.
Posture and pain
If you’re interested in this subject, you may have seen materials online attempting to debunk the posture/pain connection. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Instead, think of it this way:
Being in one position (sitting or standing) for long periods exacerbates stress-related muscle tension and loading on your spine and supporting muscles. Adding poor posture habits only adds to the problem.
So, while poor posture isn’t the only cause (and may be the result of other problems), it can tip the pain balance the wrong way.
Got pain? Contact me.