Have you ever found yourself working at your desk, queuing or slouching on the sofa and wondered if your posture is ‘good’ or ‘bad’?
You don’t have to be a ballerina to have been told that it’s important – most of us have been ordered to “sit up straight” or “stop slouching” at some point. Perhaps you’re even thinking about how you’re sitting as you read these words – well, you are now.
So, is there such a thing as ‘bad’ posture? And is your back pain linked to it?
In an interview with The Guardian this week, Kieran O’Sullivan, a senior lecturer at the University of Limerick, states that we are “almost paranoid about posture”. With back pain affecting 2.5 million UK citizens a year it’s really no wonder.
So, is your posture good?
Well, the new thinking is that posture is dynamic. That means that posture is not about staying still, it’s about moving and changing how you sit and stand. Dr Eyal Lederman, osteopath and honorary senior lecturer at University College London says, “To date, all the research has shown that there is no relationship between any postural factors, including the shape and curves of the back, asymmetries and even the way we use our spine, to that of developing back pain.” He adds, “Yes, if you already have back pain you might feel it more when sitting, but it’s not the cause of the back pain.”
So can we change our thinking about posture? I think the answer is yes, we need to stop worrying about how we sit and think more about moving while we sit, or getting up and walking while we’re on the phone. There’s no written rule that says meetings should be conducted while sitting either. Go for a walk next time you have a meeting.
Overall, the whole debate is nicely summarised by Mr O’Sullivan:
“If you don’t have back pain, then do not give your posture one second’s thought – think about being healthy”.
This means getting good sleep, reducing stress and keeping active.
If you need help working out how to use your body better while at work or if you’re already in pain and want it to go away, call us and talk through the problem – we’re always happy to help.