Could fixing your posture help you have a pain free 2022?
According to a recent study, back pain is the leading cause of disability in the world. In the UK alone it accounts for over twelve million days lost from time off work!
Having worked as a Posture Alignment Specialist for over eight years, this doesn’t surprise me. I know that chronic pain is tough and frustrating, and unless you’ve experienced it, it’s truly hard to understand the impact it can have.
What helped me (I suffered for years with lower back pain and repetitive strain injury) and so many of the clients I’ve worked with, is improving the alignment of our bodies – or in other words, our posture.
What is good alignment?
When I work with a new client, I ask them to stand up, relax, and not think about their posture. I then check to see how lined up are their ankles, knees, hips, spine, shoulders and head, both from the front and the side, comparing them to the image below.
Nobody is perfect, but the closer they are to this alignment, the stronger, the more stable, and the more efficient their body will function.
Any misalignments in their posture will give me clues about how their body might not be working optimally.
What can cause misalignments?
Your muscles keep your body in good posture and they need a variety of work to stay balanced and healthy.
Our modern-day lifestyles don’t really give us this. Even from a young age, we spend so much time sitting at a desk at school, and many of us have desk jobs.
All of this combined with injuries and other stressors can lead to misalignments in your posture – for example one hip higher than the other, excess curvature in your spine or a head which is too forward.
How can misalignments affect you?
Well, certain parts of your body might be compensating and overworking, making them more prone to injury, wear and tear, and impingement.
For example, if your upper body is hunched and your head is too forward, perhaps the muscles in your upper back and neck will overwork and start to hurt.
How can you improve your posture?
I think most people make the mistake of trying to consciously force their body into a ‘better’ position when they sit, stand and walk.
But this rarely works!
How many times have you tried to sit or stand up straight and then a few moments later you’re back where you started?
Furthermore, for many this can feel uncomfortable and painful because their bodies are not ready to hold them in this position.
A better approach is to improve the balance of your muscles from left to right, and from front to back, because it’s this balance that determines your body alignment.
I give my clients gentle posture correction exercises which stretch and strengthen certain parts of their body and get them into better posture without them even having to think about it.
Overtime as their posture improves, their pain often does too.
If you’d like to try one of my favourite posture correction exercises click here.