City Centre Chiropractic

Brisbane 3229 6993

header photo

Does Posture Matter?

Health-conscious people are haunted by the idea that they “should” correct their posture, and many fight a chronic, uncertain and tedious battle against crookedness. But is it necessary? Can aches and pains be traced to “poor posture” in the first place? Even if they can, is it actually possible to improve posture? The characteristic ways that we sit and stand and walk are among the strongest of all habits, with deep roots in personality. Posture is not a position, but a dynamic pattern of reflexes, habits, and adaptive responses to anything that resists you being more or less upright and functional:

  1. Gravity, of course!
  2. Awkward working conditions, which may be unavoidable (eg nurses must lift patients), or self-inflicted and correctable (lousy ergonomics).
  3. Abnormal anatomy.
  4. Athletic challenges.

Posture is the embodiment of your comfort zone. At worst, it can be like a cage. Posture is also more than the sum of those parts, more than “just” a collection of righting and stabilizing reflexes — it is the way you live, the shape of your flexible “container,” the physical manifestation of your comfort zone. We habitually hold ourselves and move in ways that serve social and emotional needs, or avoid clashing with them: posture can be submissive or dominant, happy or sad, brave or fearful, apathetic or uptight. The challenges and rewards of trying to change posture are not just musculoskeletal, and can be personally profound.

Poor posture is an unnecessary and problematic pattern of physical responses to postural challenges. Sitting for hours with your knees tucked sharply under your chair is a classic example, a real hazard to kneecaps— avoidable and entirely caused by a lack of awareness of how knees work.   How much posture matters in general is another question: but for sure there is such a thing as a problem posture.

What about postural laziness? That’s what most people picture when they think of poor posture. The avoidance of postural challenges leads over time to poor postural fitness. If you avoid postural challenges enough, eventually you’ll have trouble coping with them when you have to, this then strengthening for mentioned definition the “problem” of poor posture is generally minor and self-limiting. The worst problems are avoided naturally. The postural fitness that matters the most is taken care of almost automatically. And the issues that remain are relatively minor. That said, homo sapiens can also be surprisingly self-defeating! In fact, this seems to be weird feature of “higher” intelligence. Human beings do not always avoid unnecessary strain and we can be surprisingly prone to doing things the hard way. So we probably do make some postural mistakes and develop bad habits, because we are careless, or our big brain is placing too much emphasis on some other priority, or because don’t even know that we’re doing something wrong (like the knees-tucked-under-the-chair example). .

Go Back