Perfect posture, and how to achieve it

While the majority of our clients come to the clinic seeking relief from some kind of pain – often back pain, many of them end up becoming long term members of our clinic family – why? It’s all about posture.

 

The importance of posture

As well as being excellent for reducing pain, chiropractic adjustments are an excellent approach to achieving better posture – better yet, advanced techniques, like the chiropractic biophysics approach we prefer at the clinic, are specifically designed not just to improve posture, but to optimise it for your lifestyle. It’s the optimisation which we really need to focus on too. For years, we’ve been told that there’s a correct posture to stand in, to sit in, for this or that activity – and these are probably all true, however, in day to day life, how often do we stay in exactly the same position? Those of us who work at a desk do spend long hours stuck in pretty much the same position – so here, it makes a lot of sense to try to get it as “right” as we can – but during the rest of the day, it might be more beneficial to think about how easily we can move and change position. Indeed, the latest research shows that it may be more important to think about a “balanced” or “dynamic” posture than perfect posture.[1]

 

What is “dynamic” posture?

While we tend to think of “Posture” as a thing, something we can quantify – usually with a diagram – but posture is really more of a concept, made up of a dynamic pattern of responses, reflexes, and habits –  not a single position. Gravity, your work environment, and your anatomy all play a role. For instance, sitting for hours on end staring at a computer screen is a perfect example of an imbalanced and challenged posture as a result of ergonomics. Over time, this imbalance can lead to forward head posture, which can cause pain and even degenerative changes in your joints. Forward head posture affects millions of people who spend their days using computers. It places stress on the neck and shoulders and weakens the supporting muscles.

  • Forward head posture affects millions and results in neck pain for up to 75% of people.
  • Neck pain, tension, stiffness, and tenderness are all signs of chronic forward head posture.
  • Trapezius strengthening has been shown to provide clinically significant relief for those struggling with neck pain as a result of forwarding head posture.

 

So, how do we achieve a good dynamic posture?

If bad posture comes with a host of nasty side effects, does good posture help to imrpove our overall health? It certainly does – good posture is essential because it helps you keep your bones and joints remain in proper alignment. This, in turn helps reduce the wear and tear on your joints and can decrease the strain on the ligaments that support your spine. New research also indicates that maintaining a good or balanced posture can also help you use your muscles more efficiently and prevent fatigue. [2]

The best posture to prevent back pain? Research indicates it may actually be one of motion. If you sit in one position too long, small nerves will detect the pressure and send messages to your brain, indicating that you’re uncomfortable which prompts you to move – now, researchers believe that these “uncomfortable” signals which occur before pain is our body’s way of telling us to move or change positions before damage occurs. For example:

  • Good posture means keeping your spinal curves aligned and weight evenly distributed.
  • Changing positions or using a standing desk can help you improve your posture and reduce your risk of neck and back pain.
  • Standing desks have been shown to reduce back pain by over 30% compared to sitting at a desk.

 

Need to improve your posture?

Strength and flexibility play a significant role in your posture. Having good core strength and balancing that strength with flexibility can help you dynamically adapt to your environment. While “perfect” posture may not be a “cookie-cutter” item which we can aim for, each one of us has an opportunity to improve our strength, flexibility, and ergonomics to reduce our likelihood of experiencing pain. Techniques such as Chiropractic biophysics are ideal tools for this and are offered to all our patients, not as an extra service, but as part of the normal fee.

 

 

 

[1] Effects of Lower Trapezius Strengthening Exercises on Pain, Dysfunction, Posture Alignment, Muscle Thickness, and Contraction Rate in Patients with Neck Pain; Randomized Controlled Trial. Medical Science Monitor 2020

 

[2] Breaking up workplace sitting time with intermittent standing bouts improves fatigue and musculoskeletal discomfort in overweight/obese office workers. Occupational & Environmental Medicine. 2014

 

Blog by / November 13, 2020 / Blog

Dr Paul Irvine
Dr. Paul Irvine is a doctor of chiropractic who graduated in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of NSW and in 1996, attained his Master of Chiropractic degree from Macquarie University in Australia. He practised in North Sydney for 5 years before he left Australia to travel and practise in the UK. He joined Complete Chiropractic in 2003 (est 1999) and took over the clinic in 2007