"My Posture is Terrible!"

Mike Coval
January 2, 2021

I've heard this line more times than I can count.  Posture is no doubt important, but way too often there is a reductionist way of thinking about it that is proposed by "experts" in our field and then passed on to laypeople.  

"It's (being why they're in pain or they ache) because I sit at a desk all day slouched over my computer"

"Oh, it's okay though because I have a stand-up desk" (note:  sometimes a stand-up desk can be worse than sitting)

"My hip hurts because my (insert professional) said that my pelvis is anteriorly tilted, my right leg is a millimeter shorter than the left, and my left hip is higher than the right" (hint:  we're ALL asymmetrical beings.  Asymmetry can sometimes reflect pain symptoms in specific areas, but is not the cause).

Here's the thing about posture.  There's not just one thing that drives your posture.  There's not even two.  There's MANY variables that come into play when it comes to your posture.  

Past mental & physical trauma.  Side dominance.  Habitual day-to-day patterns.  The context of your environment.  Your bodies strategies for movement and breathing.  These are all things that will influence your posture.  

D.O. Ross E Pope put it nicely in his writing analyzing D.O. J Gordon Zink's "Common Compensatory Pattern".

"we have learned, human posture is not limited to structure.  Clinical and experimental evidence suggests that developmental factors including third trimester

fetal growth, birth trauma and cerebral lateralization can result in lifelong disturbances in structure and function of the human body".

The takeaway:  your posture can influence the way you feel & function, but it's not worth obsessing over.  It's way too complex and the reasons for why posture is the way it is may be too deep for us to consciously comprehend.  In the next part of our newsletter we will cover more practical ways that you can influence the way you feel & function.

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Mike Coval

Coval Fitness is a Personal Training Studio and Gym in Ann Arbor, Michigan

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