In a general sense, posture is the overall position of a body while sitting, standing, or lying down. In relation to the human body, posture is the foundation of movement. All movements begin and end with posture. A common misconception that one’s posture is static or fixed. The human body is a flexible structure designed for movement. As we move and interact with our environment, our posture changes. These changes occur countless times throughout daily life and have an impact on physical function.
There are a number of reasons why an individual may adopt a particular posture. Some postures may be adopted due to structural deformities of the body. Others may be adopted habitually, caused by years performing the same movement (or lack thereof) over and over during work, sport, and/or leisure activities. For any attentive observer, an examination of an individual’s posture may provide them with a number of clues about that person’s life. For example, consider the posture of someone you know who works at a desk. Are their shoulders rounded forward? Is their chin also poked forward? Do they complain of neck or back pain?
As our lives become more technological and convenient, more and more people are spending more and more time sitting down and are suffering injuries because of it. It is important to note that the act of sitting itself is not necessarily to blame. Over the past few years, sitting has gotten a bad reputation in mainstream reporting. A quick Google search about sitting will reveal claims like “sitting is the new smoking” or “sitting is the cause of your back pain.” It is true that sitting and sedentary behaviour can have numerous adverse effects on an individual’s health but how you sit is more important than that you sit. It is the act of sitting with suboptimal body alignment for prolonged periods of time that is the issue. This is because poor posture places adverse loads on the tissues of the body. In small bouts, these loads are often tolerable. It is constant or repetitive loads placed on the tissues over time that lead to microscopic structural damage that compound and lead to injury and pain.
The idiom “the straw that broke the camel’s back” is a good analogy for the effect that poor posture can have on the body. Individuals may attribute their back pain to one act of bending over to pick up a heavy object or twisting a certain way but it’s actually the microscopic tissue damage over years of poor posture that is often the underlying culprit. This weakens the body before it’s put under heavy strain which serves as that final straw.
Fortunately for us, the human body is resilient. It can withstand a lot of abuse and can heal when an injury occurs. With that being said, if the underlying reason for injury is poor posture, then failing to change that posture will likely result in future injury and pain. Although it may seem simple, changing one’s posture often requires much more than just “sitting up straight with your shoulders back.” Optimizing posture is often a complex process that requires conscious attention and effort. A common saying in today’s healthcare world is “your best posture is your next posture.”
InMotion has a dedicated and knowledgeable team of health professional ready to provide you with all the tools you need to take control of your posture. Whether you are in need of a massage from one of our massage therapist, an ergonomic assessment of your work station from one of our occupational therapist, or a tailored exercise program from one of our physiotherapist, we are here to help. Contact us at 709-747-5949 or by filling out a contact form here.
Optimize your posture, maximize your movement, prevent or take control of your pain.