Posture and pain, a vicious cycle

Did you know that postural misalignment predicts future pain and injury, but is also a consequence of previous pain and injury.

Your bad posture can lead to a myriad of different pain syndromes including, rotator cuff injury, headache, neck tension, carpal tunnel like syndrome, golfers elbow etc. That’s just in the upper limb. It can also influence low back pain, ankle strains, patello-femoral syndrome, knee injuries, bursitis, muscle tendinopathies etc in the lower limb.

So which comes first? The bad posture or the injury?

One of the most common reasons patients come to see us Chiro’s is PAIN!

Low back and neck pain are two of the biggest causes of disability within Australia. Especially for the working population and those in the middle years of their life.

Discomfort and soreness have the ability to alter your posture – whether it’s a limp because of hip tenderness or holding a stiff neck due to muscle strain. Conversely, poor posture has the ability to cause you agony and it increases your risk of injury.

Invariably one leads to more of the other and it can be hard to know which one actually came first.

More interesting is that you may have been suffering from one pain, only to think that over the weeks it got better on its own. When in actual fact, you may have compensated by altering your posture to reduce the physical stress on that painful area. Therefore reducing the inflammation and tightness at that point, but placing more tension and stress which may become painful somewhere else.

This is a classic story we hear all the time! “I had this pain in my back 6 weeks ago, that’s better, but now my neck hurts.” More often than not these issues are directly related.

This relationship between pain and posture is cyclical and can lead to upward or downward spirals of postural faults, injury, and dysfunction.

The take home message is to simply acknowledge that your posture is a constantly changing and adaptive behaviour that is both cause and effect of your pain and dysfunction.

Irrespective of what came first, to attempt to manage your problem without correcting any underlying postural dysfunction is just to invite future pain and injury.

Dr Andrew Richards

Dr Andrew Richards

Chiropractor
Dr Max Williams-Forbes

Dr Max Williams-Forbes

Chiropractor