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POSTURE: IS IT AS SIMPLE AS GOOD v BAD?

Today, I just want to have a wee little chat about posture - how it should be viewed as more than just good or bad and how even the term “posture” is somewhat an oversimplified term.

I guess it’s easy to say “good postures are aimed at maintaining the most optimal structural integrity of the body to ensure it functions at its best” and that “bad postures are the mechanical compensation of the body into positions that aren’t as integral and optimal”.

And this is true - I’ll get into that in a bit…

It’s much simpler to just say “this is good posture” and “this is bad posture” but the truth is, there’s a huge middle ground between these 2 positions.

Us as human beings are incredibly dynamic - which means we are constantly moving. Our body positioning is always changing, this also has a lot of dependant factors like

COMFORT LEVEL / PAIN

ARTHROKINEMATICS

OCCUPATION

PATHOLOGY / INJURY / CONDITION

ABILITY

We’re never in 1 position for a hugely sustained period of time. If we are (e.g. driving for a long time, sitting at a desk and computer, bent over a workbench etc) we get fidgety, we get achey and we will more often than not wriggle out of that particular position and into a new one - now it might not be a WHOLE new position, but it’s DIFFERENT than the one we were just in.

Dynamic movement becomes the intervention. And it’s this protocol that makes it almost silly to have just the categories of GOOD and BAD.

Everyone has good posture at some point and everyone has bad posture at some point - however, we all move in and out of that. It’s an extremely interchangeable concept.

If we look at it from a biomechanics point of view and the most common “bad posture” we see - SLOUCHING.

Now, from a proprioceptive view - we’re in this increased kyphotic curve (the curve of our Thoracic spine - mid to upper back), our scapulas are protracted, shoulders internally rotated, our neck's are in this forward head carriage and slightly extended position along with our Lumbar spine slight rounded out as well. A majority of the positioning stemming from our thoracic spine in this hunched position.

It’s not wildly uncomfortable - I’ll be the first to admit that. Predominantly because, this is the natural curve of our Thoracic spine. When we’re in utero, this is how we’re curled up, when you sleep (if your a side sleeper) you’ll be in this curled up position, when we get tired, fatigued, lazy - this is the natural compensation and the easiest position our bodies will fall into.

However - from a FUNCTIONAL perspective, this positioning (whilst somewhat comfy) can limit or impact our function.

If you were to slouch and take a deep breath in - you’ll find its probably not as easy as it normal would/should feel. there’s a decrease in the overall intake of breath, restriction in the sternum and back, imbalance in tummy-chest breathing etc.

But - if you were to sit up straighter and now take a deep breath - notice the comfort, the ease, the difference of depth in your breath.

This is our body positioning altering our function.

(But again! context - we’re not in this god awful hunched position all the time - maybe for a while, but remove out of it! our bodies will subconsciously make you move)

Posture, alignment, positioning, proprioception, biomechanics - all these terms and factors work together and compliment each other in order for us as an individual musculoskeletal system to function and to function well.

Each person/occupation/athlete etc has different demands to that of others for example,

  • a marathon runner vs a sprinter

*different build, different muscle recruitment slow v fast, different training regimes etc endurance v power

  • Power lifter v Soccer Player

*different builds, different athletic demands (muscle strength v muscle power/endurance, single movement/action v multiple planes of movement/coordination)

  • Desk/office worker v labourer/tradie

*different energy exertion, postural requirements etc)


The one thing in common - they’ll all have good posture and they’ll all have bad posture - because of the dynamic demand that’s required of their bodies.


So, to recap:

Posture is much more complex than just being categorised into good v bad.

It’s a hugely variable concept that depends on factors like

LOAD MANAGEMENT

ALIGNMENT

INDIVIDUAL NEEDS / ABILITY

TASKS BEING PERFORMED

MUSCULOSKELETAL CAPABILITY

NEURAL CAPABILITIY

ARTHROKINEMATICS





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