Poor posture can lead to various problems, including pain, headaches, and even difficulty breathing.
Most of us only consider our posture when something goes wrong, but this can be the cause of, or contribute to, a variety of ongoing issues.
An osteopath can help improve your posture and alleviate many of these issues. Osteopathy is a holistic approach to healthcare that considers the body as a whole and aims to restore balance within it.
Common causes of poor posture
In most cases, posture pains or strains result from sitting or standing in incorrect positions for an extended period. Rarely is there trauma or damage associated with postural pain. Instead, aches and pains are felt during activities involving sustained postures or stress on the body.
Common causes of long-term “bad posture” that can lead to pain:
- Weakness of muscles.
- A sedentary way of life.
- Workplace requirements.
- Inadequate education or awareness.
- Stiffness of the joints.
Two types of poor posture:
1. Pelvic crossed syndrome
A muscular imbalance is a feature of pelvic crossed syndrome or distal crossed syndrome. You will notice a pattern of muscle weakness and “tightness” in the front and back of your hips and pelvis.
As a result of “tightness” in the hip flexors (front of the hip) and lower back (lumbar extensors), along with weaknesses in the abdominals and gluteal muscles, the pelvis tilts anteriorly, and the lower back curve increases. Lower limb function may be compromised in this position, resulting in leg muscle soreness, impairing performance, and posing a risk of injury.
As a result of this muscle imbalance, nearby muscles, joints, and other structures are very stressed.
Symptoms of pelvic crossed syndrome
- Lower back, glutes, hip flexors or groin pain.
- A distended tummy, adopting a “sway back” posture.
- Reduced hip, pelvic, or lower back range of motion.
- Increased lower-limb loading often results in ankle, foot or knee pain.
2. Upper crossed posture
As the name suggests, this posture is characterised by the appearance of an X shape. This indicates an imbalance between overactive tight muscles and underactive weak muscles.
Upper cross syndrome is a typical posture that the upper back and neck can adopt due to postural stress, for instance, watching TV, computer or laptop use, phone use, reading etc. The neck and shoulders muscles become strained when holding this poor posture, while the chest and back muscles are shortened and “tight.”
As with pelvic crossed syndrome, this pattern of muscle imbalance places a lot of strain on the surrounding muscles, joints, and other structures.
Symptoms of upper crossed posture
- Neck ache
- Pain in the lower back.
- Pain or tightness in the chest.
- Aching in the shoulder, commonly described as burning.
- Headaches that tend to worsen as the day goes on
- Stiffness in neck movements.
- Numbness and tingling sensations in the arms.
Osteopathic treatment for poor posture
An osteopath examines your entire body, including your muscles, ligaments, tendons, your spine, your nervous system, and uses a variety of different hands-on techniques, including:
- Muscle and joint capsule stretching.
- Gentle Spinal manipulation ( where safe and always with your permission)
- Gentle, rhythmic joint movements.
- Soft Tissue Massage.
- Exercise Prescription to strengthen weakened muscles.
Can an osteopath help with alignment?
Yes, an osteopath can help with alignment. In addition to providing lifestyle advice, an osteopath can help you improve your mobility caused by stiff and tightness caused by poor posture! Due to the gentle nature of osteopathic techniques, they are suitable for all ages and conditions.
Can you fix bad posture permanently?
You can improve your posture permanently even if it has been a problem for years. After a certain age, we may begin to adopt rounded shoulders and hunched stances as a way of life. Some people feel they’ve missed out on better posture. You’re still likely to be able to stand taller.
You are however encouraged to take responsibility for your long-term health and well-being when opting for osteopathic treatment. In this way, you can determine what factors in your lifestyle and environment may be contributing to your condition. Such factors may include poor posture, stress, or the need for ergonomic furniture.
Final thoughts on Osteopathic solutions for poor posture
Osteopathy is a type of manual medicine that recognises the critical relationship between the body’s structure and how it functions.
Osteopathy can help stimulate the body’s self-healing and automated processes by improving overall body function, facilitating a return to health.
Osteopathy is one of the most effective ways to improve your posture and relieve pain caused by bad habits.