“A good stance and posture reflect a proper state of mind.” – Morihei Ueshiba
Of all the things that one can do to improve health and well-being, there is something so simple, so fundamental, that many people overlook it altogether.
And that is your posture.
Oftentimes, chronic pain is actually the result of postural dysfunctions. In fact, poor posture can lead to a number of pain and health issues. According to one government source, symptoms of poor posture include:
- Rounded shoulders
- Bent knees when standing or walking
- Head that either leans forward or backward
- Muscle fatigue
- Back pain
- Body aches and pains
And, as if these weren’t bad enough, it turns out that postural imbalances in both standing and sitting, as well as when walking, can result in several detrimental effects such as:
- Tension and pain in your neck, upper back, lower back, and shoulders
- Poor circulation
- Impaired lung function
- Poor digestion
- Constricted nerves
- Misaligned spine
- Curvature of the spine
- Head and jaw pain
One of the most common causes of back pain and neck pain stems from improper, or poor, posture.
Thinking About Good Posture
Most of us have probably heard it from childhood.
“Stand up straight.” / Don’t slouch in your chair.” / “Stop looking at the ground when you walk.”
The funny thing is, they were right. Posture is fundamental and critical to good back, shoulder, and neck health. In addition, it has a quantifiable effect on one’s mood, attitude, and self-perception. In fact, we make mostly subconscious judgments of others based on the posture we perceive from them.
Unfortunately, posture becomes habitual and ingrained, making it difficult to change or adjust. Over the years we continue to sit wrong, stand improperly, and even our walking posture and gait become dysfunctional. We suffer from poor posture and often are completely unaware of the cause.
Surprisingly, many people are unclear as to what “good” posture looks like.
To think of a correct standing posture, imagine a string attached to the top of your head pulling you upwards. The purpose of the imaginary string is to keep your body in perfect alignment: maintaining your spine’s natural curvature, while your neck stays straight and your shoulders are parallel with your hips.
Try doing this while standing:
- Keep your shoulders back and relaxed
- Pull in your abdomen
- Keep your feet about hip distance apart
- Balance your weight evenly on both feet
- Avoid tilting your head forward, backwards or sideways
- Keep your legs straight, but knees relaxed
Here is a graphic illustrating the most common postures developed by people along with ideal, “correct” postures:
Chronic Back and Neck Pain and ART®
Eventually, for far too many people, persistent poor posture can actually lead to chronic pain in their back or neck. And, far too often, the primary cause – poor posture – is not recognized as such.
This is not to say that all chronic back and neck pain is the result of poor posture. And even for those whose posture is a major factor, there can also be other underlying contributors. This can only be determined through certain tests, such as the Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA) series of full-body movement tests, and Anatomy in Motion, or AiM.
Depending on the final determination of the cause of chronic pain, the manual therapy known as Active Release Technique®, or ART®, can be used to bring eventual relief. In addition, depending on the root cause, ART® may also be used in conjunction with physical therapy, chiropractic care, specialized exercise, rest, ice and heat to relieve the pain.
Developed by Dr. P. Michael Leahy, Active Release Technique® is a clinical manual therapy that was and specifically designed to relieve musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction. It accomplishes this by treating muscles, tendons, ligaments, joint tissue and nerves.
Essentially, ART® is a movement-based therapy combining patented, hands-on treatments along with guided client movement to break up scar tissue, separate adhesions in muscles, relieve entrapped nerves and restore muscle length. ART® is a comprehensive therapy system composed of hundreds of protocols, designed to collectively identify and treat problems in specific body structures and tissues.
ART® can also be used to increase the range of motion in joints, improve blood flow, and can help reduce or even eliminate chronic and acute pain.
Active Release Technique® is highly effective for many types of back pain and specifically designed to locate and treat scar-tissue adhesions in the muscles and surrounding soft tissues. By locating and treating these soft-tissue adhesions, ART® allows a practitioner to break up any adhered scar-tissue and restore tissue flexibility and movement.
Chronic Pain Relief With ART® and Pain and Performance Solutions
When you come to your first appointment, we want to learn about your present discomfort as well as any history of discomfort. Getting back pain relief with ART® begins with an understanding of when and how your pain started.
A full examination will help us determine which form of treatment is best suited to get you on your road to recovery. Your trust in us is key, as is your honesty. Ultimately, getting your body healthy and working properly is the only way to achieve total recovery.
So, don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here to help and will answer any questions that you may have. You can reach us at (707) 636-4404 or by filling out our online contact form.