Posture is a fraught topic on which many health professionals still differ. Improving posture is often part of the treatment. It is also often identified as a reason for the emergence of complaints or injuries. Entire methods and treatment plans have been developed to improve this "wrong" posture. But is posture really the culprit? A lot of research has been released in recent years examining the role of posture in the development of symptoms.
We're going to go over the most important ones with you:
1. There is no such thing as the perfect posture!
There is no evidence that one attitude is better than another when it comes to the prevention of complaints. The best posture is the following posture. Adjusting your natural way of sitting is more likely to cause more symptoms than less. It is especially important that you alternate a lot of different postures whenever possible. So it's not about any particular posture not being good for you. The lack of movement can cause symptoms, though. Just hold a ballpoint pen over your head for 8 hours. In itself nothing wrong with this posture but it will cause a tired and annoying feeling in the shoulder belt. Now compare this one to your back or neck during a long day's work at the office. Nothing wrong with a certain sitting position, but sitting for 8 hours straight becomes a problem.
2. A hollow or rounded back is not the reason for your symptoms.
There is research where people are followed a long time over time. This shows that people with a slightly different position of the spine, a concave or convex position of the back, do not develop more or fewer symptoms than a control group. A concave or convex stooth of your back Is never directly the reason for your pain.
3. Attitude and self-confidence.
An active, proud attitude is a booster for your self-confidence. A study conducted in America examined the role of attitude during simple arithmetic tests. Students who were anxious showed a hunched posture, and were less confident in a good outcome of this test. This hunched forward posture caused students to think less effectively. When asked to sit up straight, they were more confident and scored better on the test. Posture not only affects how others think about us but also how you think about yourself! Self-confidence comes not only from thoughts about yourself but also from the attitude you adopt.
4. The best posture is a fine posture.
A comfortable posture is very person-dependent. So don't try to teach yourself anything that doesn't feel natural. See what works for you.
5. Your back is not a fragile block box.
Your spine is extremely strong and can be safely loaded at various angles and positions. Warnings to lift with a certain posture, for example, are unnecessary and can cause unnecessary anxiety.
6. Sitting is not the new smoking.
Smoking and sitting are not even remotely similar. Clearly, lack of exercise does not bring benefits. But sitting is unnecessarily demonized. Smoking is unhealthy, sitting is not!
It's easier to sit a lot these days. We pack the car a lot, have office functions and we easily plop down on the couch in the evening, too. There is no advice on maximum sitting time. However, vsufficient movement easily compensate for prolonged sitting. So find a good balance. 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise is sufficient. You can always do more, but this is a good guideline to start with. This includes walking and cycling.
7. An attitude analysis makes no sense.
Adjustments to your desk, for example, are unnecessary and do not prevent complaints. The advice to sit or lift in a certain way at work has no added value. The way you prefer to lift something or to sit is determined by the natural curvature of your own spine. So this is different for each person. Don't fall for this!
Finally, your back is strong, adaptable and is not a block box that needs to be neatly aligned. When we pain trying to explain it we need to look much less at the influence of posture, we need to start focusing more on factors such as exercise, training, stress management and sleep. Health professionals also need to become more aware of the language they use when treating or counseling their clients. Your back is not crooked, is not vulnerable and is fine in 99% of all cases as it is now.