What is good or bad posture? Why does everyone care about posture so much?

You have heard it time and time again… “Fix your posture”,” stand up straight”, “stop slouching”. We often don’t realise the positions that our body is in or how it is affected by our environment.

There are many things that can lead to poor posture, stress, time pressures, poor set up of the environment, muscle weakness and bad habits. Osteopaths frequently see patient’s whose environments affect their posture and cause complaints.

 

Poor posture can lead to..

·        Muscle aches

·        Neck or back pain

·        Headaches

·        Increase stress on joints, ligaments and other structures leading to increased likelihood of injury and degeneration

·        Limited range of motion or movement -  from abnormal shortening of muscles and lengthening of others

·        Poor digestion – especially with poor posture when seated, it can compress the abdomen and your intestines leading to slower digestion

·        Decreased lung capacity – if your rib cage is unable to expand it can impact the amount of oxygen you can take in which can result in muscles working harder to expand your rib cage, greater work out your heart which will increase stress and you may be more prone to colds

·        Fatigue – poor posture require different muscles to work harder which uses a lot of energy

·        Poor mood and increase stress – poor posture can lead to an increase in depressive symptoms and increased feelings of stress

 

Why do some muscles tire more when you’re in a bad posture?

The fibres in our muscles can be classified as slow twitch, usually found in deep postural muscles and help maintain positions or fast twitch which are used for creating movement.

The slow twitch are able to maintain positions for a long time as they use low energy and take a long time to fatigue.

However when we have poor posture we use more of the muscles with fast twitch fibres in them, these fibres tire quickly and we feel muscle fatigue.

Greater use of the fast twitch fibres leads to disuse and weakening of slow twitch fibres leading to greater reliance on fast twitch. This results in greater fatigue and less feedback to your brain about your body’s position.

 

Things you may notice which may indicate you have poor posture

·        Rounded shoulders

·        Head that leans forward

·        Back pain

·        Muscle fatigue or body aches

·        Headaches

·        Someone may comment on your posture

What is good posture?

There is no perfect posture and it often is about constantly changing your posture. Listen to your body, remember to stop and think regularly how you are feeling including muscle tension or fatigue and what position you are in.

Things you can do to improve your posture:

·        Reverse the posture you have been in. eg slumped forward at a desk – stretch backwards

·        Regular exercise and stretching  to improve muscle flexibility and strength

·        Avoid standing on one leg for a long period of time

·        Cross your legs at your ankles and not your knees

·        Make sure your mattress and pillow are supporting your body

·        Make sure your work set up is supporting and encouraging good postures

If you are getting regular muscle soreness and fatigue from poor posture, a visit to the Osteopath may be beneficial. The Osteopath will complete an assessment of your complaint and use techniques such as soft tissue to muscles, mobilisation of joints and techniques to address fascia and other structures to help decrease muscle and joint stiffness. An Osteopath can also offer advice on your posture and what things may be contributing to your poor posture and your complaint including work set up. Ergonomic assessments at work or visiting a GP or addressing the causes of poor posture such as stress will also benefit you.

 

If you think an Osteopath can help you, book an appointment with us today online (https://www.osteo4families.com.au/book-online) or give us a call on 0416 161 411. Or book yourself in to another health practitioner but please don’t just sit there in bad posture reading this.

Carly Broadbent