How did my posture get so bad?

Here’s the answer to an age-old question

How did my posture get this way?!

When people come to Upright Health, they know (or strongly suspect) that their posture is a part of the pain equation. They want to try to fix the posture and nix the pain, and the question that they need answered is “how did my posture get this way?”

It’s an important question with a very important answer.

For many, the simple answer is just “genetics.” I have heard doctors, chiropractors, and physical therapists give this answer. “The way you stand and move is genetic. The end. Sorry. Tough luck. Pay at the front desk.”

Thankfully, this opinion is slowly dying out.

What’s becoming more and more obvious to those who study it is that posture is largely a result of training.  Your body learns to look and move the way it does.  Irregular static and dynamic posture is a reflection of muscle imbalances.

That means that if you fix the muscular imbalances, you fix the posture!

So where do the muscular imbalances come from?  Here’s the list from the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM):

  1. Habitual movement patterns
  2. Altered movement patterns from repetitive movement
  3. Altered movement patterns from injury
  4. Altered movement patterns from surgery
  5. Altered movement patterns from incompletely rehabilitated injuries

It’s all about how you move. Once your body starts moving in non-ideal ways, it leads to a cycle of issues. Having a habit of sitting for 8-12 hours a day can set you up for altered movement patterns that then lead you to an injury on the weekend. The next week the injury doesn’t hurt but you’re still slightly limping around as a compensation…which sets up your muscles for another injury in six months.  Sound like fun? No. Sound familiar? You bet.  It happens to people living in modern society day after day after day.

The trick is to intervene in that cycle! Once you reintroduce positive, healthy movement patterns, your body starts to rebuild the appropriate muscular balance so that you can look, move, and feel the way you’re supposed to.

I know many of my clients have noticed many parts of this 5 point list, so if any of you guys and gals want to share some examples, please feel free to do so in the comments section below!

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About the Author

Matt Hsu is a trainer and orthopedic massage therapist. He fought a long battle with chronic pain all over his body and won. He blends the principles he learned in his journey, empirical observations with clients, and relevant research to help others get their lives back.