As a physio, it is always a source of amusement to me when I mention the “P-word” in front of my clients. I just have to whisper the word “posture” and people sit up straighter in my room, and all throughout the building, without even realizing it. Sometimes I almost get drunk with power, just walking down the aisles at the supermarket, seeing shoulder blades pinch together, chins tuck in, shoulders un-slouch as I walk by.
OK so I’m being a bit dramatic, but the effect is quite humorous. Many people I talk to admit to having “terrible posture”, and it sure is interesting to see the different variety of postures that my clients display.
The popular belief is that poor posture = pain. What is very interesting, however, is that in the best studies we have trying to link posture to pain, there is (this will make you sit up straight and take notice) no clear and consistent link between poor posture and pain.
Just like with disc bulges, or osteoarthritis and other conditions that are traditionally associated with pain, forward head posture is not always associated with increased pain.
Studies show that people with poor posture can be pain free, and that people with neck pain can have good posture. There does, however, seem to be a link between sustained poor postures (working position etc) and pain.
So, what do we make of all of this?
The best evidence we have supports a proactive approach to posture; it is important not to blame all pain on poor posture, but we must understand that it has an effect, on the pain levels in some people, especially when it comes to sustained positions.
Physiotherapy and massage can be effective methods of reducing symptoms of neck pain. Your LifeForce physio can give you some valuable tips on how to correct your posture and teach you exercises aimed to improve both your posture and your pain.
What we can’t do though, is walk around behind you whispering the “P-word” repeatedly to keep you standing tall!
Call 8289 2800 to make a physiotherapy appointment at LifeForce health solutions at Golden Grove, to see what one of our experienced and friendly physiotherapists can do to help with your work-related condition. Alternatively, send us a message or comment on Facebook or via our website, and we’ll be in touch!
David, J. (1998). Chronic neck pain: a comparison of acupuncture treatment and physiotherapy. Rheumatology, 37(10), pp.1118-1122.
Fernández-de-las-Peñas, C., Cuadrado, M. and Pareja, J. (2007). Myofascial Trigger Points, Neck Mobility, and Forward Head Posture in Episodic Tension-Type Headache. Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, 47(5), pp.662-672.
Nejati, P., Lotfian, S., Moezy, A. and Nejati, M. (2015). The study of correlation between forward head posture and neck pain in Iranian office workers. International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health.
Raine, S. and Twomey, L. (1997). Head and shoulder posture variations in 160 asymptomatic women and men. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 78(11), pp.1215-1223.
Silva, A., Punt, T., Sharples, P., Vilas-Boas, J. and Johnson, M. (2009). Head Posture and Neck Pain of Chronic Nontraumatic Origin: A Comparison Between Patients and Pain-Free Persons. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 90(4), pp.669-674.Office Worker’s Neck