Poor posture continues to get a bad rap by the news, the general population, and everyone’s mother. Everyone has heard that slouching is bad for your neck, back, and shoulders, and if everyone knows it, that must mean it’s true. After all, a lot of those so-called “old wives’ tales” ended up having some truth to them.
When it comes to posture, most people understand that there are “good” and “bad” postures, and most people can pretty easily identify them without formal training. There’s a lot of research that shows that posture itself doesn’t relate to pain or dysfunction, however. But there are postures that put our bodies joints and soft tissues in positions where they are more likely to be excessively stressed. These positions may or may not end up causing pain in people depending on a number of factors.
Time is one of the biggest factors in determining if a posture is “good” or not. Your muscles and joints crave movement because movement supplies the necessary nutrients to those structures to keep them healthy and happy. Moving, especially towards a posture that is “opposite” of the one you’re normally in, is an easy way to help keep your body healthy by maintaining mobility.
Another important factor with posture is muscle endurance or strength. Muscles do not perform well if they are constantly being stretched, and most “bad” postures put our muscles (particularly of our shoulders and upper back) on stretch. Having the necessary muscle endurance and strength to be able to support a posture is vital, and that’s where people end up having problems.
If you have “bad” posture, you need to focus on two things: 1) being mobile enough to reverse your posture and 2) being strong enough to maintain the posture you normally have. If you can’t do those two things, then your mother was right and your posture is certainly not helping you out. If you can do those things (and you continue to maintain that mobility and strength with daily exercise and movement), then your mother might have been wrong (if moms can be wrong). So work on your mobility and strength, and your posture won’t work against you.
Got questions? Feel limited in what you’re able to do? The staff at Limitless Physical Therapy in Eugene, OR can show you how to be limitless.
***The above information, including text, images, and all other materials, is provided for educational purposes only, and not as a replacement or supplement to professional medical advice. Please contact a certified healthcare professional or your primary physician for any personal concerns.