Posture is essentially the passive position you are in all day long, whether it is when you are walking, sitting or standing still. The passive position of your body is a crucial piece of the puzzle when identifying why you get back problems because it also dictates how you move and therefore any irritations arising from less than optimal static posture are magnified.
Everyone stands with different a different posture. This is related to inherited tendencies and also to how we have used our body in our everyday lives.
We all have a lot of different maps of static posture in the region of our mid brain part of our central nervous system. Motor centres located in the midbrain are involved in the regulation of walking, posture and of reflexes for head and eye movements. The significant thing is that posture is mapped into the mid-brain centres of the CNS over time and therefore becomes a subconscious reflection of all that has been experienced by the body over time. This has implications as to how we attempt to deal with ‘poor posture’ and encourage ‘good posture.
The four main things that dictate a person’s static posture are;
- What map is being recalled (sitting, standing, talking, listening etc)
- What the default position is for that map (remember this has been learned over time)
- The condition of the musculoskeletal system at the time
- The duration of time that the position has to be held
The shape of a person’s side profile could be used as an indicator of neck and back problems. According to research from the British Chiropractic Association (BCA), the average age where we start to suffer from back or neck pain is 34.
Those whose heads lean forward are most likely to be currently suffering from back or neck pain (58%), followed by those with an arched back (56%).
Those whose heads lean forward are also the most likely to suffer from back or neck pain ‘every day’ (29%). Those with a flat back were the least likely to have experienced pain, with 21 per cent having remained pain-free.
Posture is self perpetuating because any new posture struck consistently causes a gradual changing of the subconscious map of that posture and encourages the brain to remember it.
If you stand in a neutral posture, the load of gravity is passing through the joints and the bony alignment of the joints and the line of the rigid and strong bones are optimally used to take the load.
Curvy spines or flat back or sway back are all deviations from ideal alignment. All deviations create load in the muscles and connective tissue and as such require contractions, thickening or a changing of the posture to one with less work involved.
Poor posture over time can cause deterioration in the musculoskeletal system’s health and this cascades into other systems such as the nervous and endocrine systems. An example is that slumped standing and sitting can decrease bowel motility (movement) and result in diarrhoea or constipation and can also cause nerve impingement. Fundamentally having good posture improves your health and well being.
We can change our posture by being aware of what good posture feels like but most of all we need to stretch out muscles that are too tight; strengthen those that are weak; maximise movement in our hips and mid backs and stabilise our low backs – confusing? Please come in to see one of us and we will examine you for postural problems and point out how you can change your faulty posture into good posture which will help your body to experience less back and neck pain.