How Important is Posture? Are Posture and Pain Related?Heidi Hadley
You may read this blog title and immediately say yes! You are correct! However in this week’s blog we are going to look at how posture and pain can change according to many factors. We will look at various postures and learn how we can change the habits we develop which may be contributing towards pain.
In my clinical practice I see a lot of clients and the most common questions are, “What is a good posture? How should I stand?” Let’s consider these questions for a moment.
Immediately I encourage clients to avoid thinking of a “perfect posture” and instead become somatic or internally aware of how they are moving and standing. Why? Because the majority of the time, people are subconsciously holding and walking in a habitual manner. Very little thought can be given to how one will walk, sit and stand. We are all unique, which is great, otherwise what a boring world it would be! So with our uniqueness and quirkiness comes different bone structures and genetic factors. So when we consider posture, we want to encourage ourselves to think how we can move freely without putting too much undue stress on certain areas of our body. Our amazing and self healing body and brain work beautifully together. When we heighten our awareness to how we move, sit, stand and operate on a daily basis, we can enjoy the activities we love to do.
When I am asked “how should I stand?” I immediately encourage a client to focus somatically or internally by cuing them to notice the various sensory feedback messages coming from different areas of their body when they are standing. If you are enrolled on The Total Somatics Approach to Health & Wellness Online Program at www.TotalSomatics.com, you will know very well from the audio somatic movement lessons in Part 1 and Part 2, that I encourage you to sense and feel how you stand. When you start living a Total Somatics Lifestyle, you become aware of your health and wellness from the inside out. When we are able to self assess, self regulate and self care with Total Somatics Principles, we feel educated and empowered to take care of our health and well being. We understand that pain is not a negative sensation but rather information to encourage us to think globally and look at how we are moving and breathing, for instance. Often the pain we feel can be from a past history or story we have attached to an area of our body, such as our lower back for instance. Then every time we bend or twist we subconsciously hold tension by bracing muscles through our abdomen which is turn will stir lower back discomfort. Add breath holding in anticipation of feeling pain and you have a body dictated by a dis-empowering story or stories which act like a broken record in our subconscious mind. Add to this the labels we create such as “my dodgy back” or “my stiff back” and another subconscious barrier has been created.
The Power of your Subconscious Mind
Our mind is amazing and it is so exciting to hear all the research being discovered about the functions and roles within our brain. One area which has fascinated mankind through the years is the subconscious mind. Our subconscious mind is pretty smart! It keeps us alive! Stop and consider as you read this blog, you haven’t had to remind yourself to breathe, break down and move the digested food along your colon, regulate your kidneys and tell your heart to beat. The subconscious part of your brain will do that automatically for you. Another amazing function your subconscious will create is the 'fight or flight' stress response.
To learn more about the 'fight of flight' response, check out my blog by CLICKING HERE.
When we are in a stressful or highly emotional state, our brain and body will switch into the 'fight or flight' stress response. In these situations, the brain creates a response which means we either fight and challenge the situation or we flee or retreat/hide. I often mention to clients that we see this brainstem (subconscious) response with all vertebrae animals, including dogs. Stop and think about a dog! When they are anxious, what happens? Their tail goes between their legs. The position of their pelvis changes to allow the tail bone to tuck up and under.
Likewise, we also create the same reflex posture when we are fearful and anxious. Check out this infographic below which I have shown previously on my social media pages (Facebook: TotalSomatics and Instagram: total.somatics).
This reflex posture is set as a protective mechanism within our brainstem. It's there for our benefit. However if we are not somatically or internally aware, we can stay ‘locked’ in this posture with very little knowledge and insight. However with the skills taught within The Total Somatics Approach to Health & Wellness Online Program at www.TotalSomatics.com, we can identify when we are going into our reflex postures and then self regulate by pandiculating tight muscles to break the subconscious actions humming along in the background.
Another well known reflex posture which can occur which is triggered during stressful and intense periods in our life is shown in the following infographic.
During stressful periods, some people may keep busy to stop themselves from thinking about the situation they’ve had or currently are enduring. They may fill their life with lots of activities, exhibit nervous energy and thrive on the ‘adrenaline buzz.’ However this kind of behaviour is not sustainable and they will crash and burn if they do not take care of themselves. When the principles contained within The Total Somatics Approach to Health & Wellness Online Program at www.TotalSomatics.com are applied, people feel educated and empowered with knowledge and skills to self assess, self regulate and self care for their health and well being.
Can you see that posture has more to do with our internal environment than what we look like externally? When we apply The Total Somatics skills to heighten awareness to our internal environment, we are able to self assess, self regulate and self care by listening to the sensory feedback from our body. This skill will help us as we go about our daily activities. When we heighten our internal awareness to how we stand, sit, walk and lift, we begin to live somatically. We are able to sense and feel how our body is feeling. Our proprioception or spatial awareness increases and we teach our neuromuscular system how to work in harmony. This knowledge builds confidence which allows us to question the limiting beliefs we had created before learning the mindset skills within The Total Somatics Approach to Health & Wellness Online Program at www.TotalSomatics.com. When we replace old beliefs for educated and empowering beliefs, we live with a healthier, happier mindset.
Would you like to learn how to improve your internal awareness so you can reduce pain, improve posture, increase mobility and return to the activities you love to do? Allow me to teach you Somatic Movement, Mindfulness and Mindset skills which can be incorporated into all areas of your life.
I look forward to teaching you these fantastic skills.
Heidi Hadley xx