Is my posture the cause of my pain?

The short answer is… it depends.

Good ergonomics can be helpful, especially in the case of individuals with desk jobs that make it very difficult to spend time out of the sitting position during the work day.

However, the importance of posture is not as big as it’s made out to be.

Studies have shown that static postures, such as sitting and standing in “slouched” or “tall” positions, are unreliable predictors of pain.

Yet the duration and frequency in which you stay in those postures can be a factor that contributes to pain.

Posture and Blood Flow: Get Up and Move!

As humans, our bodies crave movement, and movement promotes blood flow.

Blood flow allows nutrients and metabolic waste products to be distributed and removed around the body.

When we don’t expose our bodies to movement, the body starts to remind us to get moving by bringing on discomfort.

Poor posture that places more demand on specific areas of the body will lead to discomfort over those areas coming on quicker and/or with greater intensity.

Keeping these concepts in mind, putting a reminder on your phone to get up and walk around the room for one minute every 30-60 minutes can be a simple but powerful tool to help combat the discomfort stemming from prolonged sitting postures.

A similar strategy can be used for individuals experiencing discomfort from prolonged standing postures.

However, instead of looking for opportunities to get up, incorporate sitting breaks along with short, frequent walks.

Resistance Training and Improved Posture

Incorporating full-body and targeted resistance training throughout the week is another great way to encourage proper posture.

This can improve neck, shoulder, and low back pain as it helps improve the strength and overall tolerance of the muscles and structures commonly affected after prolonged sitting and standing.

Additionally, improving and being mindful of other factors, such as sleep and stress, can also be helpful as they play a role in contributing to an individual’s pain experience.

Does the Perfect Posture Exist?

Contrary to popular belief, the perfect posture does not exist due to individual differences in anatomy.

However, certain postures will be better suited for you based on your anatomy and habits.

If it feels better to slouch, then slouch! If it feels better to sit up tall, then do so!

The key is to take frequent breaks, move around, and not stay in similar postures for too long, as that’s when problems start to arise.

Incorporating Movement Into Your Everyday Activities

With the COVID-19-related restrictions and greater prevalence of individuals working from home over the past 2 years, the total duration and frequency of movement have been reduced dramatically for a large portion of the population.

Since these barriers have made it more challenging to move as frequently throughout the day, we must make a greater effort to do so in our daily routines to combat and adapt to these changes.

Moving forward, let’s focus on incorporating more movement throughout the day instead of trying to achieve or maintain the “perfect” posture!

The Influence of Body Posture On Your Health

Even though there is no such thing as “correct posture,” it’s important that you pay attention to how often you are moving your body throughout the day.

Doing so will help relieve pain and muscle tension so you can enjoy optimal health!

To learn more about strategies to incorporate more daily movement, weekly strength training, and improve neck, shoulder, and low back pain, book an appointment with one of our Physiotherapists through the link below!


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