In my view posture is only part of the picture. There are a number of factors that determine the posture we find ourselves in. Movement and strength are just two factors that also help determine our posture. A lot of research over recent years says that posture and pain are not linked.
It’s worth remembering (especially if you come to one of my Pilates classes) that ‘posture’ and neutral spine & pelvis aren’t quite the same things. We spend time in our classes focusing on neutral, and this is still key to achieving results. We learn neutral spine & pelvis for a few more different reasons, but that is another article in itself.
Just remember getting neutral spine & pelvis right is essential to achieving results my Pilates classes.
Let me give you an example of why posture is only part of the picture. Someone recently came to see me in my Therapy studio, as they were suffering with constant lower back ache, which they put down to their “Terrible posture”. During our assessment we also found some of the following:
Usually if we were going to correct posture alone, we may have taught reducing the curvature of the spine, possibly by encouraging slight tucking under of the tail bone. On this occasion I wasn’t convinced this would be of any use in helping with the back pain. Instead we worked towards bringing function back to the side of the pelvis that didn’t have it (right side), work towards correcting the shortness in the hip imbalance and also strengthen the right glute max muscle as well as the left oblique muscles as I believed these to be weak due to the pelvis imbalance.
After a few sessions I could see that the pelvis was now functioning as it should, without any rotation being apparent. There was also an improvement in the rotation of the hip to.
More importantly than that my client did indicate she felt almost pain free and that her ‘posture’ felt better. Upon inspection I could see that there was a reduction in the apparent Lordotic curve.
So you can see, we managed to make a change to her posture without actually doing any posture corrections. We just worked on the strengthening the weaker parts and moving the less mobile parts.
To sum up, I don’t think it’s a bad thing necessarily to look to improve posture. It’s just worth remembering posture correction alone is unlucky to help with pain; it just builds part of the picture. I believe there is always a reason that we go into an apparent bad posture. So if you can look to find why that is, I believe it will be more likely to improve our pain rather than just standing up tall or sitting better.
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About the author
I am a Manual Therapist covering a range of different disciplines including massage & Biomechanics. I have helped a range of different clients with a variety of pain/injury, usually involving lower back pain, shoulder pain and also Sacroiliac pain. I also run small specialist Pilates classes around Corfe Mullen, Broadstone, Wareham, Wimborne & Poole. Instead of just purely rubbing the pain, I always look to see if I can find a potential cause (or causes of the pain) and then work on treating this.
Pilates Instructor & Therapist, helping you understand why we do what we do!