Posture is the place from which movement begins and ends. Good posture means better quality movement, which in turn leads to less wear and tear on joints and therefore less pain. As we adopt a particular postural habit such as sitting slouched with our head forward looking at a computer screen, over time (months/years) our body tends to “harden” into that posture. When we then stand – guess what – we end up doing so with a slouch and forward head. Our bodies function best in good posture, so developing good postural habits can improve the quality of our lives by reducing muscle and joint pain.
Try this: pull a finger back as far as it will go and hold it there for a while. Notice how the area where you finger joins your hand is becoming sore – the longer you hold it there the more it hurts. As soon as you let it go and the finger returns to a more neutral position the pain goes away completely! There is no damage to the tissue. This is postural pain. This happens all the time in backs and necks. If a poor postural position is held frequently and for long periods of time tissue damage may occur and the area wears out. For example discs and facet joints.
Are you thinking a little more about your posture now? Remember your postural habit may have taken years to develop therefore it will take time, effort and particularly thought to change it!
If you sit at a computer – set a timer to beep every 10 minutes – ‘a posture reminder’
If you are walking through a shop and catch sight of yourself in a mirror or window ‘check out your look’
Poor posture is a bad habit; it will take conscious thought and effort to change it, but change it you can!