Posture is a hot topic in the world of physical therapy. One therapist will state posture has nothing to do with your pain, the other will consider it the cause. At Body Evolution we believe posture often plays a role in contributing to your pain, but we know that ‘poor’ posture does not mean you will have pain. Pain is complex and the pain experience is determined on how your brain interprets the information from both the internal (YOU) and external (THE WORLD) environment. Though pain is complex there often is a contribution from posture.
Most people think of ‘good’ posture as standing upright like someone in the military and ‘bad’ posture as standing in a slouched posture like someone who sat on the couch all day watching Netflix. The person with ‘good’ posture may be in pain while the person with ‘poor’ posture is pain-free. You might have pain right now. You might have a stiff and painful back that hurts while you walk causing you to limp and then you look over at the 'little old lady' who is hunched over her walker speeding by you...you think 'but my posture is great and she seems to be fine?' Does your posture have anything to do with your pain?...well...maybe, maybe not.
If you don't have any pain then how can you determine if posture is an issue? In the context of pain, you can't. But if you have pain then that's a different story.
The threat bucket is a powerful education tool for our clients here at Body Evolution. This idea or analogy of the threat bucket was gifted to us from Dr. Eric Cobb of Z-Health. It gives us the ability to help you understand variables that affect health, performance and pain. We know that the human body is complex and understanding things like pain are quite complicated. We can use this ‘threat bucket’ to help you understand this complexity in a simple way.
To help you understand the complexity of how different variables can have an affect on your well-being we will first start with the bucket. Let’s begin by drawing a bucket on paper or envision a bucket in your mind. The bucket represents the area (s) of your brain that receive information or inputs. This bucket has a spout near the top where information or outputs flow from the brain to the body.
Are you having pain? Is it sharp, shooting, burning, stinging? Does it travel down the leg or arm? Can you touch the area and it hurts? How you are experiencing pain may give clues to what is happening to the nerves. Think of nerves as insulated cables that carry information from the body to the brain and back down. Irritation or damage to these nerve fibers (‘cables’) alter the signal going to the brain. Your brain makes the final decision whether for you to experience pain or not. If the brain does not like the signal it may send a ‘pain signal’ to let you know something is wrong and you better fix it.
There are three basic types of nerve pain we commonly see in our office. We want to return to the analogy of insulated cables so you can gain a better understanding on nerves. Think of the wire as the nerve and the insulation as the fascia that surrounds the nerve. Just like the wires in your home, television, and other appliances some currents travel faster if the wire is insulated or not. Signals from your body may travel fast or slow. This is what happens when you step on a tack and feel a sharp sensation, only to have a duller ache moments later – different nerve fibers send different signals at varied speeds.
Have you ever had back pain so bad you felt you couldn’t move? You just wanted to lie in bed all day? I know from experience what that feels like and believe me the last thing I wanted to do was move. But here is the thing…bedrest is not best for a back injury. The old saying ‘motion is lotion’ holds true even when you are having pain. You just have to modify your activity and take some steps to manage the pain.
(Click Read More for some simple tips to manage back pain.)
The alarm goes off and you hit snooze for the second time. It was a dreadful night of sleep filled with tossing and turning. You get out of bed and still feel drowsy, but you have to get ready for work. It’s another day in the office…and another day with not much sleep. These days are the worst because your neck is aching and back pain nags you all day. The discomfort always seems to be worse on nights with poor sleep.
You are not alone. Many people complain of more aches and pains when they have a night of bad sleep. This may not be an issue for someone who sleeps soundly most of the time, but what if your sleep is disrupted every night. Is there anything you can do to have a better night’s sleep so you don’t have to feel so stiff and achy?
I'm just a guy helping active adults and athletes frustrated by nagging aches and pains naturally return to a healthy lifestyle.