Is Poor Posture Related to Osteoarthritis?

I’m sure that some of you think we harp on about posture. It’s not just because we’re chiropractic nerds who really love this stuff (although that is a big part) but because it really is a big deal. If you want to get the best from your body, then you need good posture. So to continue our theme we have yet another study that correlates posture with health, this time degenerative joint disease (DJD), or as its better know osteoarthritis.

First off let’s give a bit of background on DJD. When most people refer to arthritis they are referring to DJD. DJD is extremely prevalent with about 80% of the population aged 40 and above affected. It’s the arthritis that most people associate with wear and tear on their body and there is some truth to that as excessive joint loading, obesity and occupational standing or lifting are associated risk factors.

A recent study (1) has looked to see if postural curves are associated with DJD in the low back. The theory is that optimal curves (such as the lumbar lordosis) provide optimal weight bearing of spinal joints thus reducing the chance of DJD. The study looked at 500 radiographs of the low back and measured the severity of DJD in each. The lumbar lordosis (that curve you see in your low back when looking from the side) was then measured and graded.

The result demonstrated that abnormal (little or too much) lordosis was a modest but significant driver of degeneration in the low back. The theory behind this is that abnormal curvature places adherent load on structures in the low back increasing the prevalence of degeneration.

When getting assessed in our practice we take photos (and sometimes x-rays) of the spine to assess these curves. We know from our own experience that restoring these curves has a big impact on how people move and feel. We have long suspected that it likely had a relationship with degeneration, not just in the low back but through the entire body. This study helps confirm a relationship between posture and DJD.

The take-away message is that posture matters. If you really want to keep feeling and moving well as you age you need to take an active role in keeping it that way. That is why we strongly advocate corrective care that makes a lasting improvement to your posture and then keeping a schedule that maintains it thereafter.

If you have any further questions please speak to your chiropractor.

 

Dr Ben Coupe is an owner and principle chiropractor at Martin & Coupe Chiropractic. He is an international technique instructor for Advanced BioStructural Correction™ and a founding board member of Advanced BioStructural Correction Australasia. Dr Coupe sees ABC™ as the evolution of chiropractic and his passion is seeing tangible, long term results for all his clients. Personally his interests lie in CrossFit, nutrition and spending time with his young family. 

 

(1) Characterisation of the correlation between standing lordosis and degenerative joint disease in the lower lumbar spine in women and men: a radiographic study. (bmcmusculoskeletdisord.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12891-017-1696-9)