MYTH: PERFECT POSTURE HELPS TO PREVENT AND HEAL INJURIES
I don’t believe telling people in pain to ‘improve their posture’ or to work on ‘sitting up straighter’ or ‘avoid slumping’ following an injury.
I used to! In fact up until recently, I advised people with acute flexion based low back pain that they should avoid sitting slumped while their back is healing. I would still advise them to relax, but to do so in a chair with lumbar support, or similar.
I have COMPLETELY changed my mind on this.
Thinking that a particular posture is ‘bad’ can create a fear of movement… and fear of movement means fear avoidance of that movement, and that leads to problems when that movement inevitably happens again. People believing a certain movement is ‘dangerous’ and then being placed into that position can be a trigger of back pain on its own.
What to do instead? If you have developed back or neck pain, change your posture more regularly. Get up more. If there is a position that you know feels bad for you at the minute, perhaps spend less time in it, but rather than actively holding your muscles out of it (like trying to sit up straight), just get in a position that doesn’t feel bad without having to try hard. Move more.
Reference: Slater, D., Korakakis, V., O'Sullivan, P., Nolan, D., & O'Sullivan, K. Sit Up Straight”: Time to Re-evaluate. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy 2019 49:8, 562-564