Many of my patients come to see me for Physiotherapy or Osteopathy treatment suffering with low back pain. They will sheepishly tell me that they already know one of the reasons they have this pain is due to their poor posture. Inevitably, following this statement, they go into “good posture” and throw their shoulders back, becoming rigid and as tall as possible.
That position is neither sustainable, nor considered to be good posture.
Good standing posture is when the natural curves of the spine are maintained. The curves of the spine serve as shock absorption, as do springs of any shock absorption device. I always use the analogy of the game “Jenga”… when everything is lined up, the blocks will stay right where they are without any added effort. However, when the blocks begin to shift out of alignment, there is a teetering effect. The same can be said for the spine… when the spine is lined up, the proper postural muscles can maintain the posture well, and with little effort. When the spine is out of alignment, other soft tissue and muscles have to be engaged in order to maintain upright position. Over time, as these muscles are not designed to hold posture, they will fatigue and tighten with overuse, leading to pain and alignment issues.
Posture affects everything. On top of causing pain and wear and tear, the way the body is positioned will affect function of the organs, your mental state, and even your level of motivation. Knowing the REASON behind our discomfort is how healing begins. This is why, at Thrive, we focus on EDUCATION. When our patients are knowledgeable and empowered, that’s when change begins. Good standing posture is important, but we need to begin with TEACHING exactly what that is.
~ Kathy Leung Degen, Registered Physiotherapist, Osteopathic Manual Practitioner
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