Head back, shoulders back, chin tucked in. Rotate your pelvis back, tuck your tummy in.
There. The perfect posture.
Posture is important as it gives each individual the best alignment for the skeletal structure. Better alignment results in less stress on the joints and muscles. It also makes us more energy efficient, therefore less tired during the day.
Poor posture it would seem, is what most people think contributes most to their back pains.
But can we spend most of our days constantly correcting poor posture? Do we have the time to make ourselves consciously aware that our postures are slipping into poor habits that require our attention to correct? Aren’t there simply a ‘set of exercises’ that we can do to gives ourselves the perfect posture?
Here is the moment of truth. Perfect posture is a concept. It is very difficult to have the perfect posture throughout the day. To understand this further, we must first understand what ‘posture’ really is.
Posture is created firstly by structure of the skeleton. It is held in an upright position by a series of nervous system feedback loops connecting your eye muscles, balance mechanism in your inner ear, postural muscles of the spine, and other muscles. Posture is therefore a manifestation of how well integrated these nervous system feedback loops are. Put in another way – your posture is a direct reflection of how well your nervous system is working.
Tight neck muscles? Head tilt or slightly turned to one side? Tight hamstrings? These- amongst many more are what we see in practice on a daily basis. Sure, there are a number of factors that can affect muscle tone and joint position such as anxiety, stress, perception of the world and certain types of medication. The biggest factor affecting posture are joint problems leading to inappropriate nerve signals which in turn lead to poor response of nerves firing to the muscles.
So is posture the cause of your back problems? No. Your posture is reflection of your underlying joint problems.
Take a look in the mirror.