Poor Posture and Pain: What You Need to Know

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poor posture and pain

Poor posture and pain often go hand-in-hand. One of the best things you can do to ease and possibly prevent chronic pain is to maintain good posture. If you notice new (or old) aches and pains in your neck and shoulders or shoulder blades and back, it could be attributed to the way you hold your body while sitting, standing, sleeping or even using your devices. 

Poor posture and pain 101 

There are many factors that can contribute to chronic pain and poor posture. One of the biggest culprits is living a sedentary life. Sitting at a desk for hours and hours in an uncomfortable office chair staring at a computer screen can be part of that lifestyle. Sound familiar?

Problems from poor posture can trigger pain symptoms as a result of compressed discs in the spine. This can lead to all sorts of pain. It can also put you at an increased risk for osteoporosis and other chronic spine conditions.

illustration of spine health

Going “back” to basics 

The concept of improving posture to ease pain has been researched for years. There are a variety of methods you can explore to better understand the mechanics of proper posture and pain relief, including the Gokhale Method. This is a systematic process of restoring pain-free posture and movement developed by Esther Gokhale, a licensed acupuncturist and trained biochemist who was seeking relief from her debilitating back and sciatic pain.

Like many of us, Gokhale suffered from chronic, severe back pain and sciatic pain. No matter what avenues she explored to reduce her pain nothing was working. As a practicing acupuncturist, she worked with many people in similar pain. This made her wonder why human beings were so “poorly designed and kept falling apart.”

She began a journey to find answers to her questions about poor posture and pain and discovered humans are actually “extremely well-designed creatures.” Unfortunately, our culture has caused us to lose sight of how we maintain good posture. The result: chronic pain. Plus, in a sedentary environment we stop focusing on building our core muscles that help protect our spine.

A new technique emerges 

In search of a relief from her own back pain, Gokhale studied a variety of methods, including the Alexander Technique and the work of the Aplomb Institute. Her research and work with clients in her acupuncture practice lead to the development of her own technique. Its central focus is on proper posture, as she believes poor posture and pain can be avoided.

At the heart of her method is the primal posture. The concept is:

  • we were all born with healthy posture
  • we are able to regain that by practicing healthy posture and strengthening our core

“It’s the posture that you find in our hunter-gatherer ancestors or even our great-great-grandparents, that we all shared when we were two and that people in nonindustrial cultures still retain,” Gokhale explains in an interview with Pain Resource. “The architecture of the body that I claim is natural is pain-free, highly functional, and beautiful.”

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