by Dr. Robert Snow, PT, DPT, October 27, 2015
If you are looking for an Encinitas back doctor, there’s one doctor, a doctor of physical therapy, that just could be the best kept secret in health care.
Your mother used to always tell you to stand up straight. Was it good advice? As an Encinitas Back Doctor of Physical Therapy, I believe so. The team here at Gaspar Doctors of Physical Therapy often provide posture recommendations.
While there’s no solid clinical research to support postural education and back pain prevention, we feel it is still great advice.
No Clinical Data to Support Postural Education…Not Yet
Consider this study:
The PubMed electronic database and the Cochrane Library were searched based on a combination of keywords related to low back pain (LBP) and posture education. Only randomized controlled trial (RCT) studying the efficiency on outcomes directly related to LBP of a preventive intervention programme mainly based on education of proper care of the back for subjects not seeking treatment were included. References of the articles meeting these inclusion criteria were also checked to identify other potential citations. Besides, a methodological study assessment of the included RCTs was performed.
Nine studies, all conducted at the workplace were included in this review. Their mean quality level was low (5.1/12) and among the four studies with a huge sample size (n > 400 subjects), only one had an acceptable methodological quality score (6/12). The education interventions differed widely from one study to another. No significant differences between the control and education groups were found at the follow-up in eight out of the nine studies on the incidence of back pain, disability and sick leave.
The results of the RCTs included in this review suggest that educational interventions mainly focused on a biomechanical/biomedical model are not effective in preventing LBP. However, taking into account the methodological quality level of the RCTs as well as the very short and heterogeneous interventions often proposed, additional high-quality studies with a longer education period are needed to conclude that such interventions are inefficient.
- Studying Posture Intervention Isn’t Easy
It would be very difficult to create a clinical research study that controlled for all the possible variables and clearly examined the prevention of back pain as it related to posture exercises.
Nevertheless, here’s some advice on how to maintain good posture.
In addition to a generalized flexibility program performed on a daily basis, this one easy tip will help you avoid having shortened muscles and avoid that “hunchback” posture we all never want to see in the mirror.
Give This Exercise a Try
My favorite time to perform this exercise is when I’m on a phone call with a headset, or a online presentation. I can stand and still work.
2-3 times a day, (more if you can) get up from your desk, and find a wall.
With your back to the wall, place your heels about 6-8 inches away from the wall, lean back. Your Gluteals (bottom) , Mid back, Shoulders will all make contact with the wall, hands at your sides. Do not force your lumbar spine flat against the wall just yet.
Roll your shoulders back, and turn your palms so that they face forward, this will rotate your shoulders back. You will feel the stretch in your chest a bit.
Next, while holding the “hands forward” try to tuck your chin a bit and get the back of your head on the wall.
We have now: Back of head on wall, shoulders and mid-back and bottom on the wall, with hands faced forward. Hold for 30 seconds.. Repeat 2-3 times a day.