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Bad Posture is the Root of Chronic Pain

Bad posture is becoming a problem for most people because our lives have become far too sedentary. On average people sit 67 hours a week due to desk jobs and other technologies in our life. If you don’t use it, you lose it. This significant amount of inactivity causes our postural muscles to gradually weaken over time, which in turn causes the action muscles to compensate.

Action Muscles vs Postural Muscles

Unfortunately action muscles (upper traps, pecs, biceps, hamstring, quads etc) although big and strong, are only meant to contract when we move. When tasked with contracting on a more continual basis, action muscles become fatigued and eventually fail when they have to control a movement. This is what happens when someone bends over to tie their shoe and their back goes out.

Think of your action muscles as a sprinter and your postural muscles as a marathon runner. Usain Bolt can run a marathon but he won’t be anywhere near as successful as he is in the sprints. Now if he had to run his sprint right after he finished a marathon he would have a much higher chance of injury because he is fatigued from doing something he isn’t built to do.

Stopping Chronic Pain

Weak postural muscles and overactive action muscles are the root of chronic lower back, hip, shoulder and neck problems that many people suffer from. Thankfully by learning how to properly activate postural muscles, the action muscles will naturally relax and chronic pain will decrease. In further blogs I will describe the 3 step process to improve posture by learning how to breath properly, activate abdominal postural muscles and then finally activate shoulder postural muscles.


Matthew Heron, I.O.

Intern in Osteopathy