Posture – Is it the Real Cause of Your Pain?

In the past, you might have considered posture as a contributing factor to your neck or back pain. If you were told off as a child for slouching, you might catch yourself assuming that sitting up straight will prevent back problems. This article will explore whether or not these commonly held assumptions are correct, and whether posture really is the cause of your back pain.

Does slouching cause back pain? Learn the surprising truth.

If since reading this, you have been trying to sit-up straight and feel the strain of trying to maintain that rigid, upright, apparently perfect posture. I can tell you to relax now, because the new research says that not only is it fine to slouch, but it might actually help with some forms of back pain.

Yes, many of my patients are surprised when I tell them the news. And, it is normal!

Back in the day, we were watching a large black and white screen in the middle of the living room and, now, we can stream videos on the tips of our fingers. It is what we call evolution. And the same happens with science. Contrary to popular belief, and after looking deeply into research, there is no scientific evidence to suggest an upright sitting or standing position is the perfect posture, or that there even is such a thing. Yes, you’ve heard me correctly.

LEARN MORE: Postural Issues

What are the myths about posture that you should know?

SITTING UP STRAIGHT IS NOT GOOD FOR YOUR BACK. TRUE. Sitting up straight can be painful for some people, so give yourself permission to relax. You’ll see, you will feel much better.

BAD POSTURE DOESN’T LEAD TO PAIN. TRUE. When you look into real scientific research and not Dr Google, there is no solid evidence that sitting or standing up straight will help at all or is the cause of your pain.

YOU NEED TO BUILD STRENGTH WITHIN YOUR BODY TO BE ABLE TO SIT-UP STRAIGHT. FALSE. I’m going four times per week to the gym doing weight lifting and I can tell you that I have a very poor posture at my desk.

SITTING ON A MEDICINE BALL WILL FIX YOUR BAD POSTURE. FALSE. Again, it looks fancy to have a medicine ball within the office, but I guarantee you that you will struggle a lot to do an 8-hour work shift on an exercise ball.

CORRECT OR PERFECT POSTURE EXISTS. FALSE. We are all different and one size doesn’t fit all. We all have different bodies, different limb lengths and different levels of muscle activation – which makes recommending one “perfect” posture pretty tough.

YOU MUST SIT PERFECTLY STILL. FALSE! Our body loves movement and being in the same position for too long is the worst you can do.

What can I do about my posture then?

Now that we have discussed the myths around posture, let’s look at what can you actually do about it?

  1. CHANGE YOUR POSITION AS OFTEN AS YOU CAN “ Your next posture is your best posture” A sedentary lifestyle is not healthy for the body and the same rule applies to your spine. Moving as often as you can is important and you would be surprised by the results. Many of my patients have said that it was a massive game-changer for their spine. I have this rule for my patients: 30 minutes sitting at a desk = 30 seconds to 1 minute standing
  2. STANDING-UP AND STRETCHING The idea that we should remain fixed and rigid in one particular sitting posture both isn’t helpful and isn’t supported by science. So, please stop it. A key problem with modern-day posture beliefs is that many people try to be stuck in ONE position, often one that is frustratingly uncomfortable and unnatural. Irrational fears of “bad” posture lead many people to lock their body in their misconstrued ideal of what “good” posture looks like, often avoiding movement entirely.


What can I do if my back pain or neck pain persists?

Sometimes you can learn to do some movements and stretches to release body tension on your own, but it might not be enough to relieve the pain. Stiffness in a joint or muscle tension can still be present.

So, seeing an Osteopath can be a good idea for many reasons.

  1. You get a professional and personal management plan for your unique issue

  2. You get to release the tension, stiffness and decrease the pain with manual therapies (such as massage, dry needlings, spinal manipulations and other osteopathic techniques)

  3. You will have a specific movement program that fits your situation, your lifestyle and your needs.

    If you have never been to an Osteopath before, check out our video here to see what we do:

What can you do at home to get better?

We are all having long days at work. Stress with projects coming next month, late for picking up the kids from school, taking on more hours at work, and so on.

But it is important to take a few minutes each day to recharge the batteries, switch our mind off and take care of our body.

People are really surprised that sometimes, a simple exercise can really do the trick.

Have a look at our video below and see examples of good movements that you can do at home to help your body to be more mobile and relaxed.

I hope this article helped you to have a better outlook and feel positive about your situation.

Improve your health with SMART goals at Mana Health Clinic

At Mana, I always work with my patients as a team and the philosophy in my clinic is to ensure that you are actively part of your treatment plan. I have developed a treatment plan process to make sure you can reach your goals in a SMART way.

Specific for you: We work together to create a individualised management plan for you.

Monitor your pain level weekly or monthly: You are assisted along the way to overcome the challenges with your health.

Adequately suits your lifestyle: I make sure your treatment plan fits your needs and your life.

Realistic with what you can achieve: Nothing complicated.

Time-focused: We create goals together to get you out of pain as fast as we can.

I don’t believe in quick health scheme solutions. Our goal is to improve your quality of life for the long term. If you are serious about getting better, why don’t you come to the clinic for a free assessment?

It will be a good opportunity to meet, discuss your unique case and see how you can move forward on your health journey. Having a full medical and physical assessment can help you to understand the real causes of your problem.

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