Fibromyalgia is a condition that affects the whole body. That’s why it’s important to approach treatment in a way that takes the entire body into account. There’s a lot of evidence that things like yoga can significantly improve the pain of fibromyalgia, as can moderate aerobic exercise and a healthy diet. But you may have also heard of some similar, but less well-known, techniques like posture correction.
The principle behind posture correction is that as we age, we tend to move away from the natural posture we had as children. As a result, our bad posture pulls the body out of alignment and puts stress on our muscles and joints. And some have suggested that this stress could be making the pain of fibromyalgia much worse. But is this idea actually supported by science? Let’s take a look at some of the most common posture correction techniques and whether or not they might actually help with the pain of fibromyalgia.
Posture Correction Techniques
Obviously, when you’re in the middle of a flare up and wracked with shooting pain all over the body, the last thing you can think about is keeping your spine straight. That’s why most of the most common posture correction techniques are about gradually training your body to naturally correct your posture. And there are quite a few different ways to do so.
First, there’s the Alexander Technique. The Alexander Technique is over 100 years old and was developed by an actor who found that years of unnatural movements damaged his ability to speak. By carefully studying the way he moved, he found that he was able to cure the damage to his vocal chords and began using this technique to train others. The technique has found a lot of famous fans over the years and even today, actors use it to condition their bodies to move naturally and to improve their posture.
Then there’s the Feldenkrais Method. Like the Alexander Technique, the inventor of the Feldenkrais Method developed it as a way to cure an injury he suffered. The method also focuses on working with a teacher to slowly correct posture and move more naturally through a series of guided exercises.
And one of the simplest ways to improve your posture is actually with a corrective back brace. These sorts of products are commonly used to correct conditions like scoliosis, but they can also lead to better posture for anyone. As with any such product, some are obviously more effective than others. You can usually find reviews online that will help you make an informed purchasing decision.
Finally, you can actually train yourself to have better posture on your own. Start by having a friend take photos of you from each side. Draw an imaginary line through these images and see if the photo is even on both sides. If one arm hangs down farther than the other, for instance, try to correct this by shifting your posture. Using this corrected posture, press your back against a wall with your heels together and try to touch the back of your head to the wall. Ideally, you shouldn’t have to lift your chin to do this. If you find that you can’t touch the wall without raising your chin, push your head back as far as possible and hold that position for twenty seconds. Repeat this exercise a few times a day and your posture will gradually improve until you can touch the wall.
But the obvious question is: do any of these work for fibromyalgia pain? Let’s look at the evidence.
Do They Actually Work?
The truth is that there really hasn’t been that much scientific study on the subject of using posture correction to treat fibromyalgia. Both the Feldenkrais Method and the Alexander Technique promise a variety of health benefits, but studies on the effectiveness of these methods have had mixed results. As far as using the techniques to improve fibromyalgia specifically goes, there simply hasn’t been enough study to suggest that it helps or that it doesn’t.
With that being said, there is some evidence that poor posture can increase the amount of pain that someone with fibromyalgia experiences. Poor posture can strain joints and muscles and increase tension throughout the body, all of which can make your fibromyalgia pain worse. Furthermore, poor posture actually increases your risk of an early death because of the strain that it puts on the cardiovascular system.
Logically, improving your posture should help correct at least some of these problems. So, using some of the techniques we covered earlier to improve posture may actually provide a variety of benefits. Besides, it never hurts to have good posture.
Let us know what you think? Did correcting your posture help with your fibromyalgia? Tell us in the comments.