The posture is the position of the body, whether it’s voluntary or involuntary, when you’re stationary or in motion. It’s a crucial concept that needs to be considered in both healthy individuals and those with injuries. Sometimes it’s hard to position yourself correctly, feeling like you’re creating pain associated with muscle fatigue. Do you know what a bad posture does to different body structures? Why is it so hard to maintain a proper posture? What are the right postures to adopt to prevent or promote healing of injuries?
Bad postures lead to Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD). In terms of joint structures, we therefore encounter slight to moderate displacements (example: anteriorization of the humeral head at the shoulder). On the muscular level, there is a shortening of the agonist muscles (those that make the movement), such as the abdominals for the trunk, and an overstretching of the antagonists (those that make the opposite movement), such as the erectors of the spine, caused by the slouched position of the trunk. Furthermore, there is restricted space for organs, for example, the lungs being compressed by the rib cage, which can lead to respiratory issues. The body thus gets used to this constant state of imbalance and no longer realizes that it is harmful.
The various elements having gotten used to these extreme positions will be unbalanced. When you try to regain a good posture, the body may feel attacked. This change in position will send new information to the system, which will then have to work harder to provide the correct data to the different body structures. If you consider the shortened abdominal muscles, when you try to straighten up, they will feel like they are in a state of stretching, which may cause you slight discomfort. In contrast, the back muscles will work harder, contracting to restore proper positioning. This effort will then require more energy from your muscles, making you feel more fatigued and/or experiencing minimal pain at this level, initially. However, you will feel less discomfort breathing as your rib cage will have opened, leaving all the necessary space for the lungs to perform their movements. Adopting a good posture is a difficult task when you start working on it. Eventually, it will become a habit, of which you will no longer be aware and which will no longer create discomfort.
To adopt an adequate posture, you should imagine having a thread running through your skull, passing through your spine. The physiological positioning is a slight lordosis at the cervical level, a slight dorsal kyphosis, and minimal lumbar lordosis. For the lower limbs, avoid locking the knee in an extended position and point the patella (commonly called “kneecap”) towards the second toe.