I recently wrote a paper where I summarized all the studies that fail to support the obsession with “fixing postures” as a means of helping those with spinal pain.
This new 2021 study concludes with something that is completely unexpected by most of us. They found that young females at age 17, who presented with a relaxed and flexed thoracic spine and moderate forward head posture, were actually LESS LIKELY to develop neck pain in the future. In another words, based on this study involving almost 700 seventeen year olds, by age 22, females who had a more upright posture were MORE LIKELY to develop neck symptoms when compared to those who did not.
What can we learn from this and several other studies that research the association between posture and pain? We conclude that pain is multi-factorial and the stuff we were taught in the past about obsessing with fixing our patients’ postures may not be valid.
So then what PT intervention could be far superior to attempting to “fix” our patients’ postures?
See my 2 instructional videos in the APTEI Video Library titled, “Forward head posture is ok!” & “Neck pain? 1 min. Fix”.
Pause for a moment and become fully aware of how you are sitting; now ask yourself two questions.
Do I feel relaxed in my current posture?
Do I feel comfortable in my current posture?
If yes, stay there. If not, move and change it!
Reference: Richards KV, Beales DJ, Smith AL, O’Sullivan PB, Straker LM. Is Neck Posture Subgroup in Late Adolescence a Risk Factor for Persistent Neck Pain in Young Adults? A Prospective Study. Phys Ther. 2021 Mar 3;101(3):pzab007.