POSTURE AND PAIN

POSTURE AND PAIN

Painful conditions associated with faulty body mechanics are so common that most adults have some of them firsthand. knowledge of these problems. Low back pain was the most frequent complaint, albeit cases of pain in the neck, shoulders and arms has become more and more widespread. With today's emphasis on running, foot and knee problems are common. When it comes to pain in relation to postural defects, one often wonders why there are many cases of poor posture without pain symptoms and why seemingly mild postural defects lead to symptoms of mechanical and muscle tension. The answer to both depends on the constancy of the error. A posture may seem very bad, but the individual can be flexible and the body position does it changes easily. Alternatively, one posture may look good, but muscle stiffness or tension can limit mobility so much that body position cannot easily change. Lack of mobility, which does not manifest itself as an alignment defect but is found in flexibility and muscle length tests, may be the most important factor.

Crucial to understanding pain in relation to poor posture is the concept that the cumulative effects of constant or repeated small stresses over a long period of time can lead to the same kind of difficulty that occurs with sudden and severe stress. Cases of postural pain are extremely variable in the shape of appearance and in the severity of symptoms. In some cases, only acute symptoms appear, usually due to unusual stress or injury. Other cases have an acute onset and develop chronic painful symptoms. Still others show chronic symptoms which later become acute. Symptoms associated with acute onset are often widespread. Pain relief measures are indicated in these patients. Only after acute symptoms have subsided can tests be performed to detect underlying failures in muscle alignment and balance and specific therapeutic measures instituted. There are important differences between the treatment of an acute painful condition and that of a chronic one. A certain procedure can be recognized and accepted as therapeutic if applied at the right time. Applied at the wrong time, this same procedure can be ineffective or even harmful. Like an injured neck, shoulder, or ankle, an injured back may need support. The natural way to provide protection is through "protective muscle spasms" or "muscle protection", in which the back muscles keep the back rigid to prevent painful movement. However, the muscles can be affected secondarily when they are overloaded with back protection work. Using adequate support to immobilize the back temporarily relieves the muscles from this function and allows the underlying injury to heal. When a support is applied, the protective muscle spasm tends to subside rapidly and the pain subsides. Immobilization is often a necessary remedy for pain relief, but stiffness of the body part is not a desirable end result. The patient must understand that a transition from the acute phase to the recovery phase requires a transition from immobilization to restoration of normal movement. The continued use of media that should have been discarded will perpetuate a problem that could otherwise be solved.

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