Read on for an interesting perspective and food for thought from our vestibular specialist physio Julie 

  • sitting up very straight is no longer advised as treatment or prevention of back pain according to a recent study from the University of Limerick 
  • contrary to popular belief, there is little evidence linking low back pain with slouching or bad posture
  • unfortunately, through years of indoctrination, we’ve become paranoid about our posture, “Sit up straight and mind my back”, has become the mantra 
  • Kieran O’Sullivan, senior lecturer at the University of Limerick and lead physiotherapist at the Sports Spine Centre in Aspetar Hospital, Qatar who has been involved in this research recommends that rather than focusing on the ‘right’ posture, the ability to vary it and shift easily may be more important 
  • in short, move and change your position regularly
  • certainly, if you already have back pain, you might feel it more when you are sitting, but it is not generally the cause of back pain
  • O’Sullivan’s advice is: “If you don’t have back pain, then do not give your posture one second’s thought – think about being healthy.” He advises that sleep deprivation, stress, worry and low mood are more important contributing factors than the way we sit
  • however, it is true that once you have back pain, your sitting posture may affect it, particularly if you sit for long periods of time 
  • see if changing your posture helps your pain, but don’t assume that the solution is always to sit up straight. Often people tend to over-correct their posture, which actually tends to create more strain on the lower back 
  • according to O’Sullivan, some people benefit from sitting up straight but slightly more people benefit from slouching 
  • he recommends regular movement, learning to relax, getting fitter and stronger, and not worrying about the angle of your back when sitting

If you need further help, please contact the clinic for some professional advice and support.

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