Posture – What’s the Big Deal?

Dr. Ben Coupe
Posture

February 12, 2015




Many of us had “that grandmother” who constantly nagged us to “stand up straight”. Was she just being a grumpy old granny, or was there something more to grandma’s nagging? Sure, upright posture looks better and feels better but does it have a direct impact on symptoms or pain? What about on different body structures and how they work? What about posture’s influence on someone’s likelihood of injury? Broadly, is a person’s posture relevant to their symptoms?” 1

Well of course, ABC practitioners (and patients!) would answer a resounding YES. Every day in our practices we see the strong link between bad posture and troubling symptoms, and better posture and diminished symptoms.

Research has shown us the role of posture in both addressing symptomatic problems, and in preventing problems from occurring. “Poor posture” has been specifically defined and how patients with these characteristics may have related neck and shoulder pain. Looking at photos makes it easy to see how patients with poor posture may have neck and back pain: 2

The images above compare good standing posture (A) with bad standing posture (B), and good sitting posture (C) with bad sitting posture (D). Look at how the shoulders are rounded forward and the neck has to extend backwards. These bad postures place extra stresses on some muscles and structures which can result in dysfunction and pain.

More specifically, poor posture can place joints and other body structures in positions that make them more likely to be injured. One recent study 2 showed that postural abnormality represented an independent predictor of symptomatic and asymptomatic rotator cuff tears. That means, poor posture is seen in people with both painful and non-painful shoulder injuries. In other words, shoulder injury is less likely in a group of people who have “ideal alignment”, and more likely in a group of people who have poor posture.

WOW. So it turns out, listen to your grandma. But don’t just “stand up straight”. See your ABC chiropractor, get adjusted, get better posture, get better. It’s as simple as that.

References:

  1. http://leonchaitow.com/2015/2/14/is-a-patients-posture-relevant-to-their-symptoms-or-is-that-concept-out-of-date/
  2. Stanos SP et al 2007, “Physical medicine rehabilitation approach to pain”, The Medical Clinics of North America, 57-95.
  3. Yamamoto A et al, 2015, “The impact of faulty posture on rotator cuff tears with and without symptoms”, Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery, Mar;24(3):446-52.

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