Is it really your posture that’s causing your pain?
Posture has been a topic that’s been widely debated to the point that many people are unsure on what to believe. Commonly as physiotherapists, we often see patients that believe that their pain is linked to ‘bad posture’ - but is this really the case? Before we can answer this question we have to first figure out what posture means.
Posture can be defined as ‘the position of the body is in space’ or in other words the position that we are in. Others define posture as our biomechanics or anatomy. For this explanation sake lets say our sitting posture is the position that we sit in. Now, can sitting posture lead to pain? The short answer is - yes. Let me explain. There is no perfect posture, no best posture, no ideal posture. The way that you sit at your desk is most likely not the cause of your pain. However, the length at which you sit at your desk at any one time probably can.
If you imagine I asked you to place your arm up in the air for an hour and don’t move. That’d be a very long hour. Our bodies were made to move and often if we restrict movement for a prolonged period of time, this can cause discomfort. So the next time you sit down for work or to study, I’d like you to think about how long you’re sitting for instead of how you’re sitting.
General recommendations are standing up and going for a short walk to the bathroom or kitchen or even coffee shop once every 2 hours. Another idea is breaking up your sitting with a few stretches every hour or so. Or even changing from sitting to a standing table if possible every hour.
So can your anatomy or body shape be a direct cause of pain? Everybody is built differently, and everybody has different body types. To say that one specific body type is the reason you’ve got pain can be a controversial statement. Let’s take scoliosis for example. Some of the strongest athletes on this planet have scoliosis.
Scoliosis is the sideways curvature of the spine which people can develop. The condition of scoliosis now changes the movement pattern and demands of that person which may mean they will have weaknesses in certain areas of their body. Due to this, resistance training and strength training would be of importance to assist with function and quality of life. Ultimately, your anatomy or body shape may mean that there will be areas of weaknesses that should be addressed via some form of exercise or strength training and thereby should reduce the risk of developing further injuries.