One of my biggest peeves is bad posture. Ask any one of my clients, and they will tell you that I am the posture police. Poor posture is the number one cause of musculoskeletal pain, something your doctor probably won’t tell you. And the longer you remain is a compromised position, the tighter those muscles surrounding your joints will become. Keeping good posture can make a difference to the long term health of your spine and the rest of your body. Not only that, but people with poor posture are more likely to have poor self-image and less self-confidence (Watson & MacDonncha 2000).
Posture is a state of skeletal and muscular balance and alignment that protects the supporting structures of your body from progressive deformity and injury (Britnell et al. 2005). Whether you are erect, lying, squatting, or stooping, good posture allows your muscles to function with maximum efficiency. With good standing posture your body’s joints are in a state of equilibrium with the least amount of physical energy being used to maintain this upright position.
Posture muscles help to fix or stabilize a joint. They prevent movement, while other muscles create movement. They are composed of muscle fibers that have a particular capacity for prolonged work. For instance, as you lean forward slightly to walk upstairs, the posture muscles surrounding the spine help to prevent the upper body from falling too far forward.
There are three natural curves in a healthy spine. The low back (lumbar spine) curves inward and is called the lordotic curve. The mid-back (thoracic spine) is curved outward. The neck (cervical spine) curves slightly forward or inward and thus has a lordotic curve. “Neutral spine” usually refers to the lumbar region. Neutral spine is a pain-free position of the lumbar spine attained when the pressures in and around the pelvis joint structures are evenly distributed. The pelvis is balanced between its anterior and posterior positions.
Exercise programs that are designed for musculoskeletal injury prevention involve neuromuscular control components. These programs involve joint stability exercises, balance training, proprioceptive training, plyometric exercises, and skill-specific training. They provide multiple stimuli to improve the body’s neuromuscular control mechanisms.