The Sitting Disease & Poor Posture, follow my 5 steps!

posture-evolution

This article is aimed at corporate professionals and pilots purely because I currently work with many of these people however, the information is applicable to everyone.

Having trained a number of pilots and corporate workers I have noticed a common theme, back pain! Many professions require people to work in an imbalanced or seated position for hours on end and piloting an aircraft or sitting for long hours at a desk is no exception. We are not designed to sit for long hours in one place!

I have been taught that your body naturally migrates to a position of strength, this is obviously bad news when the position of strength is one of poor spinal alignment. As postural muscles gravitate to the wrong position for hours on end they become chronically overworked which causes them to tighten / shorten which in turn alters our spinal curvature. As a result, I have noticed many people develop back pain and muscle imbalances particularly around the hips, lumbar spine, thoracic spine and the head, neck and jaw complex.

To put it simply the seated position often tightens the hip flexors, weakening the gluteus and tilting the pelvis forward (anterior tilt) causing stress to the lower back. Sitting can also cause a tight chest (particularly in the driving position) and weak upper back causing a kyphotic posture (excessive thoracic curvature) which often throws the head forward and depresses the shoulder, internally rotating the arms which causes the shoulder joint to become inefficient and unstable.

This common muscle imbalance can also cause more serious conditions like spinal degeneration, prolapsed discs, trapped nerves, headaches, breathing dysfunction, the list goes on!

In extreme cases it can also cause a dowagers hump which is a fatty deposit (hump) that builds up just below the neck to try and stabilise or do the job of postural muscles that are no longer working. Extremely painful, visually unpleasant and will drastically zap your energy!

Paul Chek tells us “if you already have bad posture your body has become used to being in the wrong position and now identifies it as the position of strength and normality.”

Try correcting yourself and sitting up straight, the ‘right’ position feels almost forced and strange right?

If this sounds like you don’t worry, the good news is you can help correct this faulty alignment and alleviate pain providing you follow a consistent training program focused on identifying and correcting YOUR postural deviations and muscle imbalances.

Poor posture not only takes away from aesthetics, it compromises how we were designed to function. The next time you are in a public place, take a few minutes to study the posture of the people around you. Unfortunately, you will most likely find that the majority exhibits poor posture.

If this sounds like you and you need help please contact me, DON’T leave it too long, left untreated, these imbalances can result in major injuries and pathologies that could potentially require invasive medical intervention or result in lifelong pain!

Take action now and follow the 5 steps below!!

Step 1. Book an appointment with a chiropractor / osteopath. These people should have the expertise to diagnose and advise you. They will probably want to sell you a course of treatments / adjustments.

Step 2.  Stretch every muscle, if you are unsure how to do this seek advice from a fitness professional. Score each stretch 1-5 (5 being the most tight) once you have finished take note of all the stretches you scored 3,4 and 5, this is your daily stretching programme.

Step 3. Seek out an experienced fitness professional. If the trainer does not assess / measure you prior to writing your programme walk away! you are not paying someone to guess. If you have access to a CHEK practitioner they will have adequate knowledge to assess you correctly and write you a very good program based on your needs, goals and ability. Higher level CHEK practitioners are extremely good.

Step 4. Begin your training program, results will come, you just need consistency and patience.

Step 5. Re-assessment, progression and future goal setting.

You will become a stronger, fitter, happier and more functional version of yourself, good luck and enjoy the journey, it WILL be worth it…

Please share with your friends…

(Reference: Paul Chek, ‘The Importance of Ergonomics in Rehabilitation’.)

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7 thoughts on “The Sitting Disease & Poor Posture, follow my 5 steps!

  1. Hi pal

    How are you?

    Good blog, I feel ‘poor posture’, ‘sitting disease’ and phrases like ‘text neck’ are becoming almost catastrophic in the eyes of the media creating fear and avoidance in populations. Would you agree that poor posture is an overused phrase and in fact a better descriptor would be ‘prolonged positioning’? And these are lack of movement issues by maintaining positions for periods of time. If we stayed in ‘good postures’ constantly this would also be a source of pain….variability and frequency of movement play the most important role in maintaining function and limiting pain….allied to functional movement.

    I therefore think you step one is not that effective as self management a bit of education and seeing someone like yourself who encourages functional movement, flexibility, variability and strength is far more useful….staying away from interventions such as manipulation or adjustments as these can indicate instability, weakness, Mal-alignment etc. When we know that the spine is strong and beliefs such as this create less movement and more problems in the long run as well as reliance on others to maintain stuff we can do ourselves.

    I would say that any position that the spine will let you move to is a good one but if you stay there too long and don’t use the other positions then it becomes unhelpful. Therefore it’s ok to slouch, it’s ok to sit up straight, it’s ok to sit, stand, touch your toes, extend etc.

    Building confidence, resilience and freedom of movement and thus independence.

    I conclude you should be step 1 😉

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    1. Hey James, thank you so much for the comment, I really appreciate you taking the time to read my article and highly value your feedback.
      I agree with much of what you say, particularly where you state that “any position that the spine will let you move to is a good one but if you stay there too long and don’t use the other positions then it becomes unhelpful. Therefore it’s ok to slouch, it’s ok to sit up straight, it’s ok to sit, stand, touch your toes, extend etc”

      I may have misunderstood you when you say “If we stayed in ‘good postures’ constantly this would also be a source of pain” ?
      I believe with good spinal alignment our bodies are in the ideal position from which movement begins and ends enabling the body to perform movements more efficiently, quicker and with less joint / muscular strain or pain.

      Having said this I absolutely agree with your statement that “variability and frequency of movement play the most important role in maintaining function and limiting pain….allied to functional movement”

      I don’t think anyone has ‘perfect’ posture however, in my experience some people have bio mechanical issues that need correcting.

      I will start to use the term ‘optimal posture’
      As long as the client / athlete is able to perform / move efficiently and is pain free that’s fine with me, even if they slouch.

      ‘Optimal posture’ is my new phrase.. It may be the best description as perfect probably doesn’t exist!

      Thanks James, you could also be my step 1.

      Like

      1. ‘Good posture’ would be the stereotypical, books on the head, finishing school, hyper lordosis position of the Lx that people come to you with thinking they have got good posture. Predominantly because a professional told them this was so and that flexion is dangerous and since they have adopted this good static position they have increased pain, due to a lack of movement.

        I like ‘optimal posture’ it’s heading in a better direction. I have an issue with the word posture….it comes with negative connotations in people’s mind due to their prior understanding of the word….how many times do you simply mention posture and people go into that hyperlodosed position, tense up and stay still.

        How about ‘optimal positioning’ ‘optimal movement base’ …..’ Let’s just find your optimal movement base….wow that’s it…..ok so when you move freely and return to this position so you are ready for the next one….it will help gain better strength, movement in a pain free way to make a functional difference to your life’

        I think people think posture and think static and tense and that is not what we try to teach at all.

        Anyway, sorry to go on, just someone who is sick of people being told they have a weak core, poor posture, muscle imbalance, Mal-alignments, etc etc. Movement is life!!

        Great blogs by the way, you are inspiring me to get mine that are written down on to my website.

        James

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great article. I like many people have back issues. I now sit upright at home or driving. Something I try to do is use the other half of my body. Being right handed makes me favor that side when doing anything. I make a conscious effort to utilize the other half. After years of working out, running, and stretching the back pain never left. So I found this to be helpful and also how I was breathing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Yes, I have helped rehabilitate golfers who were basically stuck in rotation and favoured one side of the body, my solution was to give counter rotational exercises, this worked great. hope you are well.

      Like

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