Who hasn’t heard this as a kid or from their friends? People have the deeply rooted misconception that standing up straight is the best posture for your body and health. A whole industry has been created around the idea that there is such a thing as the perfect posture and a myriad of products flooded the market claiming to be the solution to health problems arising from “bad” posture. From inlays, to back braces or smart clothing that would zap you if you adopt a slouched position.
Standing up straight is good for a couple of things, your confidence level and your height. But there are no good studies that found any connection between what we assume as bad posture and actual health problems.
“What is the best posture for me”
This is one of the questions we get on a weekly basis and quite frankly: There is no perfect posture.
Your body is made to move and sitting all day is not going to be great for your health or for your body. There’s not one posture that’s good for you. You read that right. There is not ONE posture that is good for you, but there are HUNDREDS of postures that are good for you. So the best posture is to keep moving and changing your posture.
Your best posture is your next posture
A common answer: “I have a desk job, I can’t keep moving”. But that’s not true. Because you can manage your micro breaks. When you sat at your desk for an hour, stand up, get a glass of water or stretch out. Or instead of emailing your colleague, walk towards him and ask him what you wanted to know. So there are plenty of ways to get moving while working on a desk job.
A posture says a lot about a person. As health practitioners, we need to listen to what you say, but we also need to listen to what your body says. The way people walk into our practice says a lot about their mood. That’s because your posture is an extension of the way you feel. A slouched position is your body trying to hide or become invisible. And staying in that position for a long time could cause you to get aches and pains in your body, which in turn exacerbates your bad mood. A study in 2017 found that changing your posture more often, improves your mood. So the take home message is to get moving! And the best posture is your next posture.
In our daily practice we come across a plethora of patients who blame their leg length discrepancy for their knee, hip or low back pain. Many of them were informed about the leg length difference by their general practitioner, specialist or physiotherapist. This can create a worrisome attitude and fear that their situation might lead to poor alignment of the pelvis and spine.
Let’s go through a couple of questions together to see if you are really suffering from a leg length discrepancy that requires action:
How has your leg length been measured?
The only reliable method to correctly measure leg length is by x ray. If your leg length discrepancy got measured by tape or any other method – chances are high that you cannot trust this measurement.
How common are leg length differences?
It is estimated that 90% of the population has a leg length inequality. Of those people the mean difference between legs is 5.2mm. In 53-75% of people the left legs seems to be anatomically longer. Sex or height, by the way, is unrelated to a difference in leg lengths.
In the following table you can see an overview about the distribution of leg length differences:
When does a leg length difference really matter?
When different scientific studies are analyzed and taken together, a leg length difference of less than 20 millimeters does not result in back pain or any other symptoms regardless of prolonged or repetitive loading.
It seems that only from 20 milimeters on and also depending on your activity, the inequality might become a problem.
It has to be noted that only 1 in a thousand people actually has this size of discrepancy. In these cases, we would advise you to contact your local specialist or podiatrist/podologist in order to receive advice about possible treatments.
Oftentimes, heel lifts or boot lifts are an easy options to compensate the leg length difference.
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