Chronic PAINS and POSTURE: connections and solutions

August 30, 2018

PAIN.  If it’s something you live with on a regular basis, you know that it can wreak havoc on your life.  According to the American Physical Therapy Association’s (APTA) “Move Forward” Low Back Pain Survey, nearly two-thirds of adults living in the United States suffer low back pain.  Stressing the entire system, chronic pain can lead to a whole host of issues like insomnia, depression, impaired concentration, liver damage from medications, relationship strain, financial loss, and worse.

Since pain can be so devastating and the common solutions so often unreliable and potentially destructive, it is worth looking further in to the possible contributing factors.  As a personal trainer, I can’t help noticing the connections between the level of pain which individuals experience and the efficiency of their chronic postures.  The science bears this out (please use the highlighted links to get more information):

  • HEADACHES –  In a 1992 study by Vernon et al published in The Journal of Manipulative Physiological Therapy, a whopping 97% of chronic headache sufferers had impaired mobility in their cervical spines.

  • SCIATICA – Comparative studies from the U.S. National Library of Medicine showed a 61%prevalence of sciatic pain in occupations that require “awkward postures” or sitting for 1/2 of the working time.

  • KNEE PAIN and injury – A study published in the 1996 Journal of Orthopaedic Sports and Physical Therapy demonstrated a strong association between non-contact ACL injuries and excessive anterior pelvic tilt.

  • ROTATOR CUFF PROBLEMS – Results of a 2015 study published in the Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery looking at the correlation between rotator cuff tears and postural deviationsshowed “prevalence of rotator cuff tears was 2.9% with ideal alignment, 65.8% with kyphotic-lordotic posture, 54.3% with flat-back posture, and 48.9% with sway-back posture.”

  • PLANTAR FASCIITIS – In 2015 The American Posture Institute published an article titled “Plantar Fasciitis: Foot Function Starts With Lumbo-Pelvic Posture.” (The title says it all.)

With all this data, improving your posture couldn’t hurt, right?

Here are three strategies to get you started:

  1. First, get an objective analysis of your posture.  We do basic posture screens in person here at Firehouse Fitnessand remotely, using pictures (see my complete personal screen results here) for a minimal cost.  You can use the link (**) at the end of the blog to sign up for yours today.

  2. Next, start building a routine to support your posture.  Start with the postural endurance exercise I wrote about a couple blogs ago.  If you need more convincing or you really want to geek out on posture biomechanics and lots of other cool sci-lifestyle subjects, you are invited to listen to The Body Geeks Podcast featuring Carrie Bennett, biochem geek/clinical nutritionist, and yours truly.  And if you still want more, call me or come in for a consultation.

  3. Hang out with toddlers, because they have the best posture in the world.  Truly.  All you have to do is look at them, and your mirror neurons will help you straighten up just that little extra bit.  And think loving thoughts to yourself, about yourself.  This sends a message to your brain and pulls you upright just like those babies.  So be inspired by the littles, and please tune in for the next blog!

 

 

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