Caution - you may want to sit up straight before reading this post!
WHAT IS “POOR POSTURE”?
While some recent studies have questioned whether posture really matters, I will say from an
osteopathic perspective- yes, it does! Posture doesn’t cause pain but the effects of poor posture,
especially over a long period of time, can.
There really is no perfect posture for our body as sometimes the position it takes on is to help us- to avoid pain or protect us from injury, but often it is simply a combination of habit and laziness. It is once our posture is causing unnecessary strain on our body that it becomes a bad thing, as this is when problems leading to pain can start to occur.
HOW DOES IT HAPPEN?
With modern technology it really is no wonder that postural strains are becoming more and more prevalent. A recent study showed that the amount of neck flexion required to send a text puts a force equivalent to 27kg on our neck-that’s a small child!!!
The normal curvature of the spine acts almost like a suspension system. It allows weight bearing forces to be distributed evenly and ensures the body can function with the least amount of strain possible. When one of these
curves changes, as it does in the upper back with stooped posture, the rest of the curves tend to change in an
attempt to compensate for this. With the upper back functioning less efficiently the lower back has to start working harder. And the chain reaction goes on… These are just a few of the more common side effects from poor posture:
Tightness across the front of the chest which can lead to inwards rotation of the shoulders, predisposing to shoulder injury due to altered functioning;
The tightness in our chest and upper back can restrict the underlying ribs which may lead to poorer breathing, lymphatic flow and circulation;
Forward head carriage in an attempt to keep our heads up while our back is bending forward. This increases tightness in the front and back of the neck muscles and can often lead to headaches;
Prolonged flexion through the back puts extra pressure on the abdominal cavity and its contents (our organs!!), which can lead to sluggish digestion, discomfort and constipation.
SO DOES IT MATTER?
Due to the holistic nature of osteopathy, balance is a very important aspect in a person’s body to ensure they are the healthiest they can be. Dysfunction in one area can soon lead to widespread imbalances predisposing to injury, pain, cramping, headaches, weakness, trigger points, tightness…etc.
So yes, I think posture does matter. But it is not about achieving the perfect posture, just the best posture for YOU!
Dr Ebony Muratore
The Natural Health and Wellness Clinic