Why Am I In Pain? Your Posture Matters, Get The Facts

Why Am I In Chronic Pain?



We know the human body develops through motion. 

Our bones, muscles and connective tissue respond to demand or work, which is the body’s response to gravity. It is what initiates the growth and maintenance of our tissues. The amount and quality of our movement as we grow directly effects the development of our musculoskeletal system.

We live in a world dependent upon modern transportation and technical gadgets to perform our tasks. Because of this we no longer develop and maintain proper muscle balance that naturally supports our skeletal system through the physical demands of our daily activities. For exercise we tend to concentrate on specific athletic endeavors rather than moving throughout our day like our ancestors did.

Due to our lack of movement, our musculoskeletal system creates compensations and we develop imbalances in our bodies. You can see evidence of this with each new generation. These changes to the original design lead to dysfunctions that alter the ability of the body to function correctly.

Our whole system is effected when the integrity of the structural or postural muscles are compromised. The curve in the back changes, the hips tilt forward and the whole body must compensate for the change of position. These misalignments lead to abnormal wear and tear in the joints and as time passes this will eventually lead to musculoskeletal breakdowns, injury and pain. Misalignments can also affect how the other systems of your body work, including your digestive, cardiovascular and respiratory systems.

The human body is designed so that each system compliments another. The internal organs rely on proper alignment and movement of the musculoskeletal system to function efficiently. For example, if our upper back is rounded it can restrict the amount of oxygen we take in thus compromising our respiratory system. When the digestive system is compressed by the rib cage the way we metabolize food is slowed down. The body functions best when everything is aligned.

Pain Free Posture MN offers a variety of therapeutic modalities that retrain the muscles of our bodies through a series of individually designed strengthening, stretching and repositioning exercises to treat postural misalignments.  Deb Preachuk is a Certified Corrective Exercise Specialist (The BioMechanics Method), Certified Posture Specialist (National Posture Institute) and Certified Posture Alignment Specialist (The Egoscue University)

Corrective exercise facilitate normal muscle function and interaction. When muscles function properly the body works efficiently and we move without pain and discomfort.

How Does Corrective Exercise Work?

Posture is an important consideration in all activities of daily living (e.g., walking, lifting objects and driving). Keeping good posture can make a difference to the long-term health of your spine. Many postural problems are detectable at early stages, regardless of age. If not corrected, these issues will become more pronounced.


1. What is posture?

Posture is a state of skeletal and muscular balance and alignment that protects the supporting structures of your body from progressive deformity and injury (Britnell et al. 2005). Whether you are erect, lying, squatting or stooping, good posture allows your muscles to function with maximum efficiency. With good standing posture your body’s joints are in a state of equilibrium with the least amount of physical energy being used to maintain this upright position (Kritz & Cronin 2008).

 

2. What is a posture muscle?

Posture muscles help to fix or stabilize a joint; they prevent movement, while other muscles create movement. They are composed of muscle fibers that have a particular capacity for prolonged work. For instance, as you lean forward slightly to walk up stairs (the movement), the posture muscles surrounding the spine help to prevent the upper body from falling too far forward.

 

3. Does poor posture affect a person’s psychological health?

Yes. People with poor posture are more likely to have poor self-image and less self-confidence (Watson & MacDonncha 2000).

 

4. What are the natural curves in a healthy spine?

The low back (lumbar spine) curves inward (toward the anterior part of the body) and is called the lordotic curve. The middle back (thoracic spine) is curved outward (posterior to the body). The neck (cervical spine) curves slightly forward or inward and thus has a lordotic curve.


5. What is “neutral spine”?

Although the vertebral column has three natural curves, “neutral spine” usually refers to the lumbar region. Neutral spine is a pain-free position of the lumbar spine attained when the pressures in and around the pelvis joint structures are evenly distributed. The pelvis is balanced between its anterior and posterior positions.


6. What are neuromuscular control exercises for the spine?

Exercise programs that are designed for musculoskeletal injury prevention involve neuromuscular control components (Akuthota & Nadler 2004). These programs involve joint stability exercises, balance training, proprioceptive training, plyometric exercises and skill-specific training. They provide multiple stimuli to improve the body’s neuromuscular control mechanisms.

 

7. Is poor posture associated with increased falls in older adults?

Yes. A study found that the best predictor of future fall risk in people aged 62–96 was deficiency in lateral posture stability (Maki, Holliday & Topper 1994). Lateral stability exercises can help older adults prevent falls.

 

References:

Akuthota, V., & Nadler, S.F. 2004. Core strengthening. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 85 (3) (Supp. 1), S86–92.
Britnell, S.J., et al. 2005. Postural health in women: The role of physiotherapy. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada, 27 (5), 493–500.
Kritz, M.F., & Cronin, J. 2008. Static posture assessment screen of athletes: Benefits and considerations. Strength and Conditioning Journal, 30 (5), 18–27.
Maki, B.E., Holliday, P.J., & Topper, A.K. 1994. A prospective study of postural balance and risk of falling in an ambulatory and independent elderly population. Journal of Gerontology, 49 (2), M72–84.
Watson, A.W.S., & MacDonncha, C. 2000. A reliable technique for the assessment of posture: Assessment criteria for aspects of posture. The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 40 (3), 260-70.

This article has been reprinted with permission from the copyright owner, IDEA Health & Fitness Inc (www.ideafit.com). Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.  IDEA Fitness Journal, Volume 8, Number 7  - July 2011

 

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