Is poor posture contributing to my Back Pain?
The easy answer to this is no! Back pain is too multi-faceted to have one sweeping answer to your issue. Back pain is very prevalent in the general public. In fact, it is according to the ‘Global Burden of Disease Study’ the health condition responsible for the most years lived in disability. We get a lot of questions about back pain in the clinic and via our social channels. Often people are looking for a second opinion because they’ve been told one thing by a physio or doctor and it doesn’t quite make sense to them how this could be the cause of their back pain.
Back pain is often misunderstood!
90+% of all back pain is not due to damage in your back. There are many external factors that contribute or drive the pain in your back.
One of the biggest factors that increase back pain is the beliefs you hold about your back pain. These beliefs are generally shaped by the people around you. It may be your parents, your friends, or even other healthcare professionals. It may even be something that happened to somebody you know and how that was handled (good or bad) that is shaping your beliefs.
At Pain and Performance clinic we want to dispel some of these misconceptions. The biggest and most annoying misconception in our minds is the idea that “Good” posture or “Bad” posture dictates the levels of pain in your back!
There is no perfect posture to sit/stand-in.
There is no perfect posture to sit/stand in. The only bas posture is one which you stay in for too long.
How many times did your mam tell you when you were younger to stand up straight because slouching was bad for your back? As we get older we discover our parents were right about a lot of things that made us roll our eyes as teenagers…. This time though, mam was wrong.
Just because you don’t stand up straight all the time doesn’t mean you will have back pain. In fact many people with “good” posture have back pain and many people with “bad” posture do not have back pain.
There are studies to back this up. In 2016, a study compared people with and without back pain. it found there was no correlation between posture type or range of motion and low back pain.
Another study where a group of researchers took pictures of women that had back pain for up to 16 years and a group of women with no back pain found that using posture alone physios could not identify the patients in pain. They then showed these photos to hundreds of physios. A similar thing was done in multiple countries where physios had to pick out who had the best sitting posture/desk set up out of various photos of patients with and without pain.
There was no agreement between the physios as to what was best.
If us physios (“the experts”) can’t agree on a best posture, don’t let one of us tell you what they best way to stand is and that bad posture will mean pain! This is just not the case and it is often not helpful at all.
Many people we see spend all day and night standing and sitting with “perfect” posture because mammy told them to do so or the doctor told them to do so or a physio told them to do so…. BUT, these people often have back pain as they have been so tense through their lower back all day that when they go to move their lower back in any direction it’s sore and stiff!
If you have any questions about back pain feel free to contact us by phone, via email, through our social media or book a consultation with one of our physios.