In the Story Of Being Injured, there are many villains that we blame; core stability, over-training, not stretching enough, the wrong shoes(!!), as a few examples. One of the most commonly blamed of these bad guys, is Posture, and there are infinite posture correction therapies and courses out there. So how fair is it to blame our posture? What does the evidence say about the link between “bad” posture, and pain? What exactly is bad posture?
Firstly, it is very tough to blame any issue in the body as being the cause of anything else, usually pain, without a good base of evidence. However, evidence based practice is a game of probabilities and the probabilities are – unfortunately – well stacked against posture being a cause of many musculoskeletal problems. The key reason behind this is that there is simply no gold standard for what is good and bad posture. So what we are basing our “correction” on can actually be a rather arbitrary measure, as we can see here, for Lower Back Pain, and here, for Shoulder Pain, where no link between posture and pain can be found.
Your body’s soft tissues are amazing at adapting to load. When we go to the gym this is precisely what we are asking our tissues to do; adapt to an increased load. These weights/loads will be much greater – and in more extreme joint ranges – than the loads placed upon your soft tissue under the traditional model of “bad” posture. We have an amazing ability to adapt and self-repair. Ergo, surely over time a muscle would adapt, like with the gym work, to the level of endurance required to meet the demands of the task?
So do I think posture is important at all? Yes I do. The key point of our posture, is our time in that posture. For example, the office worker who drives for 2 hours, to sit in an office for 8-10 hours, to drive 2 hours home, and then sit on the sofa for a couple of hours. You may think this is an extreme example, but try keeping a Sitting Down Diary – it can be pretty terrifying! In the above situation, the long hours in a flexed hip position could easily cause issues somewhere along the line. But this is actually a problem with lack of movement, as much as the posture the body is under.
The saying goes your best posture is your next posture, i.e. keep moving. Research supports this, as seen in this paper, where it is seen that in actual fact, rehab programs designed to change posture can help people out of pain without changing their posture. Again, its the movement that is the “magic”. So don’t sit still for 16 hours straight. If you work at a computer, and bench press in your spare time, try getting those shoulders back for a change. We have almost infinite postures – certainly more than in the graphic at the start of this blog.
As King Julien Says;
For more information, please contact Dan@DC-InjuryClinic.co.uk
N.B. There are no ‘one size fits all’ style quick fixes in most injury scenarios, so these article shouldn’t be seen as such. They are merely guides to a better understanding of how our bodies work