It is becoming clear to many that posture is related to chronic pain and general health. Current medical care endorses use of new medications to treat osteoporosis. Additionally, many patients take Calcium to naturally compensate for and hopefully prevent osteoporosis. When physicians prescribe and patients take these medications and supplements, it is because they recognize the correlation between demineralization of the bones, poor body posture, and general health. They believe if they can strengthen the bone and maintain ample supply of calcium to the nerve tissue, it will restore vitality to the spine. When physicians prescribe physical therapy and/or braces, they do so because they believe that a weakness in the spine is causing chronic medical conditions. What is not yet understood by most physicians is that poor body posture causes both the osteoporosis and the back pain - not the other way around. If they understood that posture was causative, they would waste little time pursuing treatment focused on one or two signs and symptoms of the overall problem.
The study of human body mechanics and the role they play in posture, are currently being researched in human biomechanics. Biomechanical principles teach closed kinetic chain theory. These theories maintain that when standing, pronation of the foot results in internal rotation of the legs, excessive pelvic tilt, increased curvature of the spine, and ultimately, poor posture. Researchers using sophisticated force plates and computerized software are trying to understand what is happening to the joints and muscles of our body as we stand, walk, and run. Unfortunately, with only about 30 years of research in this new field, little consensus exists as to how one can change, limit, or control the forces that naturally tear down posture as we age.
The science behind Yoga teaches sitting techniques that stabilize the pelvis horizontally. When breathing techniques are applied to a horizontal pelvis, spinal curvature is reduced and the spine becomes much straighter. These practices involve time-consuming sitting postures and are not generally compatible with the ambulatory lifestyle of modern life. Reportedly, some of the masters in these disciplines have managed to stay quite healthy and even extend death to well into their hundreds. Not quite the length of time that biblical prophets were described to have lived, but better than the life expectancy attributed to humans by modern science and medicine.
Osteopathic and Chiropractic medicines have become very popular in the last few decades and, to me, are modern evidence of the importance of spinal curvature and posture as they relate to health. Many different exercise programs selectively strengthen the very muscles necessary to counteract the forces that destroy human posture. The real problem is not so much IF any of these techniques can help to improve posture, but HOW MUCH they can help.