The thing about posture

To address the question of whether posture can be the cause of back pain, it is first necessary to clarify what optimal or good posture is. This is exactly where it starts to get difficult.

In a study, 295 physiotherapists were shown nine different pictures of 17 people with different sitting positions. The therapists were asked to choose which one represented the perfect posture. It turned out that 85% of the therapists chose one of two pictures.

The selection even varied between different countries. The authors conclude that there is no consitent agreement on the perfect posture. (O’Sullivan et al., 2012)

In 2010, Ledermann compiled scientific results that investigated a connection between pain and posture. His conclusion:

“The studies show a lack of association between work-related postures and low back pain. These postures include, for example, prolonged standing, bending, twisting, awkward postures, sitting (kneeling or squatting) at work, during prolonged work, and during leisure time”

Lederman, 2010: large summary of scientific results

Christensen and Hartvigsen (2008) also concluded in their meta-analysis that there is no relationship between spinal straightening and low back pain.

In another study, the posture of the cervical spine was examined more closely in pain-free subjects. A correlation was found between age and the change in posture. Accordingly, there is a natural age-specific change in posture, which is absolutely not pathological. (Chen et al. 2017)

Postural changes are also age-related.

Whether posture can influence pain is again another question. If one already has back pain, there are different studies that show that activity and thus also sitting for shorter period of time can generally lead to a reduction in pain. However, it should be noted that sitting alone is not the reason for the pain. (Lis et al., 2007)

If you remember, you too have certainly seize most of the postures in life. And these postures were not always automatically painful. It may be that you currently hold a posture and feel pain. However, this will not be the only reason for your pain.

The next posture is always the best.

However, what happens if you adopt a single posture and maintain it for 12 hours? Surely, even then, you will experience some kind of discomfort. This leads us to conclude that a single posture that is held for too long is not exactly beneficial. In this case, the blood flow decreases in different areas/tissues, causing a change in pH-value. This is measured by sensors that transmit an electrical impulse to the brain. This may cause the brain to interpret potential damage to the tissues and cause an uncomfortable sensation, which should make us move.

Therefore: The next posture is the best posture!

So alternate your posture, but don’t worry too much about posture.