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Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Why do you think postural dysfunction develops?

Brent Brookbush

Brent Brookbush


Panel Discussion: Why do you think postural dysfunction develops?

Hypothesis creation/lateral thinking - Why do you think postural dysfunction develops? Why is it so prevalent, affecting nearly everyone?

Want more - Workshops, articles, videos, forums, consulting - check out our website - https://brookbushinstitute.com/

Moderated by Brent Brookbush DPT, PT, MS, PES, CES, CSCS, ACSM H/FS

This Panel Discussion was originally posted on my facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/brent.brookbush - on June 16th, 2013

Ryan Crandall The 'Western Culture', unfortunate, ideal of inordinate amount of sitting, excessive chronic stress, insufficient sleep, scarcity of 3d movement, lack of awareness, & poor nutrition…all leading to an organism following the path of least resistance.

June 15 at 10:40am

Brent Brookbush I believe we all move in 3D Ryan Crandall (I know what you are referring to, but would appreciate you using more general terminology in these discussions, or defining your terminology in parenthesis).

Follow up question - Why would poor posture become the path of least resistance?

June 15 at 10:41am

Hamid Shibata Bennett There's something mighty influential about mirror neurons. When all others around us model stress patterns in our posture, our gait, our breath pattern, our vocal tones, it gets passed along. Talked with a research doc once. She was studying post traumatic stresses passed on to fetus while in third trimester. We have a cultural positive feedback loop of postural dysfunction.

June 15 at 11:22am

Hamid Shibata Bennett Least resistance… Critters avoid pain, discomfort, thus narrowing the possibilities of range of motion. The potential for movement becomes ever more finite. The nervous system becomes root bound. Really, such fascinating anthropological questions.

June 15 at 11:26am

Brent Brookbush Great points Hamid Shibata Bennett… your hypothesis is almost that posture is a Meme getting past from one individual to another, but that would not explain the pain. For that we need an adaptive change in tissue length.

June 15 at 11:31am

Barbara Kay The mind is a very powerful thing. Researchers once did a visualization study with athletes and found that those who visualized themselves running, jumping, or performing an activity actually had the same muscle fire as those who actually physically performed the activity. It was very interesting that we could "think" our way into shape.

June 15 at 11:39am

Joshua Morton I ought not speak for Ryan, but gravity is an ever present force. The easiest way is down. It takes a lot of energy to hold ourselves up!

June 15 at 11:48am

Joshua Morton Add to that, what I think is the beginning of it all, minus some sort of birth "defect" is psychological trauma that might begin before we even leave the womb. We have an ideal for posture, which is nice. It gives us the direction to go in. Ive never seen anyone with "perfect" posture and I am certain I wont. I imagine when I am before the throne of god, with jesus on his right and and michael on his left they will all slouch a bit. The goal however, as I said is good because it gives us an idea of where we are out of balance. Working towards balance, not achieving balance is the real goal. That is attainable. After psychology, there is the physical issues. The main one being gravity. Then of course our life patterns probably lastly followed by foolish exercise. Meaning exercise that furthers dysfunction.

June 15 at 11:53am

Barbara Kay We also need to consider poor diet and hormone levels - both of which can contribute to bone density and muscle growth, strength, repair.

June 15 at 11:55am

Hamid Shibata Bennett Brent Brookbush… Agreed… That's where the interventions of manual therapies come into play, adapting change.

June 15 at 12:24pm

Joshua Morton The piece I struggle with is not the knowledge to help someone begin to reverse this process, its getting and then keeping them motivated. I think a true solution to this problem (if one exists) is a million dollar solution, if not trillion dollar.

June 15 at 1:26pm

Gautheron Fabien And what about thé new Way of Life,with less difficulties and more static position to work?

June 15 at 1:37pm

Joshua Morton Gautheron?

June 15 at 1:46pm

Brent Brookbush So we have gravity, a stationary lifestyle, and mimicked posture as potential reasons… any others… Has anyone considered vestigial motor patterns?

June 15 at 1:49pm

Ryan Crandall I see nothing in the literature on 'vestigial motor patterns'…are you saying these are motor patterns that we once used anthropologically speaking but we don't need/use them anymore such as the 'vestigial tail' "vestigial eyelid" or our appendix?

June 15 at 4:27pm

Brent Brookbush Exactly, Ryan Crandall. It's interesting to consider when you look at the common patterns of dysfunction that some of the trends seem to pulling toward quadrupedal motion or pseudo-quadrupedal motion (as in primate motion)… Could it be that these motor patterns are still present with in our CNS? Our cerebellum has a motor homunculus that looks more like a salamander than a true representation of our human figure.

June 15 at 6:30pm

Barbara Kay Reverting back to our caveman/ape days - I've been saying that for years….

June 15 at 7:04pm

Ryan Crandall Interesting to say the least. I know there are many homunculus's represented in various structures in the brain. The intriguing part of the human nervous system is the ability to learn a massively broad range of movement pattern that our other animal creatures don't share. So much we don't know!

June 15 at 7:49pm

Brent Brookbush One potential hypothesis that makes sense to me is that these "vestigial motor patterns" are alternate motor strategies for times when optimal motor unit recruitment is not available, for example during fatigue or injury.

June 15 at 8:59pm

Melinda Reiner Oh…is that what I'm going through right now??

June 15 at 10:57pm

Ken O'Neill My thinking in this mater harkens back to nearly a century of body therapies, starting with Wilhelm Reich and his outstanding student/successor Alexander Lowen of Bio-energetics fame. Ida Rolf's legacy of anecdotal reporting adds fuel to the fire.

Separation of mind and body is an artificial construct stemming from at least the time of Rene des Cartes (17th century), under pressure from the Church to keep the mind, seat of the soul, the exclusive property of theology, while giving tentative freedom to the scientific heresy to study external, measurable phenomena. That heresy was only broken in the wake of Darwin when Wm James established the first psychology lab at Harvard in 1878, and Wundt a year later in Germany. Nevertheless, the body/mind dualism continues to reign supreme.

In India and China, there's no body/mind distinction. They tend toward what I've referred to in characteriation as an 'embodied mind'. We're by nature one whole person, not a fragmented, disintegrated mind here, body there!

Bio-energetics talks about character armour - how we stuff or suppress unresolved traumatic insults into tissue. Earlier methods such as bio-energetics, under the psychosomatic sway of neo-Freudian talking heads free association put emphasis on coming to grips with explicit conscious awareness awakening of traumatic incidents in order to gain release. Since at least the 60s, newer generation somatopsychic therapies down played talking heads identification of origins in favor of remedies - including Thomas Hannah, Feldenkreis method, neo-Alexander technique, trigger point and myofascial therapies.

Where older psychotherapy oriented body work presupposed big time traumas, newer approaches take into account a wider spectrum of disabling, dysfunctional upstream functional causes - without disallowing pervasively dysfunctional outcomes for self-esteem, psychophysical 'posturing' in relation to life/self-esteem/presentation of self in everday life. Add to that dysfunctions due to high tech such as mouse shoulder, pronated kyphatic trunk, upper back messes and atrophies, you name it.

In my opinion, the role of the coach or personalized trainer is not weight lifting. It begins with assessment of systemic maladaptations of movement and function. a physician friend informed me of his part time teaching of first semester medical students doing dissection of cadavers - generally people my age or older. Armed with their anatomy guide books, as they dissected upper backs none of the muscles were present, only slight connective tissue. Profound sarcopenic atrophy. I don't look like that!

In my case, initial training of anyone at least past 40 is based on posture and movement. Then use of training movements to restore appropriate natural muscle balance.

Thanks to Brent, I'm superceding what I've learned through the school of hard knocks over at least 40 years.

June 16 at 12:45am

Brent Brookbush Nice history lesson Ken O'Neill,

We do not spend enough time in the fitness industry understanding what has come before us… really appreciate the time and effort you put into your post. Thanks for the kudos at the end, there is no doubt that postural impairment starts young (maybe in the teenage years) and that with the correct intervention can be slowed considerably.

June 16 at 11:24am

Rob Fluegel Lots of good thoughts coming out of this post. I'll comment on why I agree with Ryan to a degree that poor posture is a path of least resistance. It's partially a matter of hanging on the ligaments. You see this often when people stand with their weight shifted to one leg. They often have lower leg dysfunction (PFPS for one) which is a result of hip ABD weakness (glute med). Their glute med is weak and they stand there hanging into their hip therefore stretching out the weak hip mm, hanging in the ligmaments of the hip and continuing the cycle of lower leg dysfunction.

You also see it with someone with poor sitting posture. You try to correct their posture but then they complain that it's hard to hold themselves up because it takes muscle activity and their muscles are deconditioned from lack of use. It's "easier" to just sit slumped. At the end of the day, humans did not develop to sit behind a computer for 1/3 of their day or more. I often joke that Bill Gates used to say " a computer in every household". That means a patient in every PT clinic!

I also like the idea of the 'vestigial motor patterns' Brent. Pulling toward quadruped or pseudo-quadruped postures. I often equate it to what I call the "Cycle of Life". We develop from the fetal position and spend our lives "righting" ourselves against gravity only to in the end lose that fight (gravity is a constant) and we revert back toward the fetal position with the increased thoracic kyphosis and loss of cervical and lumbar lordosis that we see in much of our older population.

June 16 at 1:26pm

Brent Brookbush Nice Rob Fluegel… great example… love the Bill Gates line (I might have to steal that), and I had totally forgotten about fetal development when writing my post above, thank you for reminding me. That is actually a far simpler explanation than the anthropological nightmare that proving my "vestigial motor pattern" hypothesis would take.

To everyone, Ken O'Neill, Hamid Shibata Bennett, Melinda Reiner, Ryan Crandall, Joshua Morton, Barbara Kay, Rob Fluegel, and Gautheron Fabien… This is turning into an excellent post… The integration of thought and search for congruence exemplified in this discussion is precisely why I started these "Panel Discussions" 3 years ago. We need far more of this in our collective industries.

June 16 at 1:41pm

Joshua Morton Exactly Rob Fluegel, I didnt want to get into muscle/ligament discussion here because I thought it was more geared to ideas rather than specifics of mechanical structures. Remember that is is not simpy glut med, all ABD are weak. Glut max is a powerful abductor but is rarely used in this manner. Heck most people dont even use the darn thing walking. Ive had the joy of working with cyclist in particular, by the hundreds. Most of then had week extensors of the hip. They relied on hip flexors and calves to do the work. It amazed me at first how someone who put in thousands of miles could have a weak extensor but low and behold they did. Maybe as many as 80%.

June 16 at 1:48pm

Joshua Morton No one has brought up breasts yet. From early on this is a source of embarrassment for many women (and some men) and they perpetuate the forward posture to hide their natural development. Later in life of course, as they get bigger it is too late. The person has already "caved in" to the demands of gravity. Then they likely get a job that requires them to be flexed throughout their shift. How can you fight gravity in these situations. This related back to the psychological part I was speaking of. Not to mention the constant push of society to knock people down, to discourage them from standing up tall and proud. My posture is not what it was a few years ago. Ive been very negligent with my training BUT, when I was on the ball, I stood upright without even thinking. No effort involved. I thought it was awesome. My pain was less, my function improved. I would hear comments from people such as "who does this guy think he is?" and I was dubbed by some as arrogant because I stood up straight! All I can say is (sorry for the language), what the fuck? The moment you stand up straight, someone is going think you are arrogant?!?!?! As a society we are very very messed up. I do also like the idea of the cave man too. It makes some sense and could explain much. But, in the absence of computers we had better posture all around.

June 16 at 1:53pm

Barbara Kay No one brought it up yet because Brent wanted to save the breast for last.

June 16 at 7:25pm

Brent Brookbush Interesting observations Joshua Morton… I have had similar experiences with others perceptions of me. Having upright posture should not be a to arrogance, and although there is a certain relationship between standing up tall and confidence - arrogance and confidence are not one in the same. I think their are two parts to this observation - The first part may relate to the mirror neurons and mimicked bad posture becoming a norm, making good posture the exception. This is definitely a point to consider in relation to our hypothesis creation. Further, it may infer that behavior modification should be as much a part of our solution as corrective strategies. The second is really more of psychological or philosophical issue…

I think for generations we have always considered upright posture as a sign of confidence; you even mention in your post how insecurity (the opposite of confidence) can have deleterious effects on upper body posture. But, the link to arrogance troubles me. Confidence and arrogance are not one in the same. Arrogance assumes the individual has a perception of themselves that is beyond their actual status and/or the status of others, where as confidence implies a certain level of comfort with who one is and/or what their status is. I think there has been an unfortunate trend toward insecurity in our society, either fueled by some of the harsher points of capitalism or by a need for wish fulfillment revolving around the unrealistic lives displayed in the media. Unfortunately, when confident individuals meets insecure individuals the results are rarely positive on either side. My observation has been this - "When confidence meets confidence the result is behavior that progresses logically and usually positively with a certain comfort that builds a foundation for rapport. When confidence meets insecurity the result is generally an emotional response that often results in an unpredictable set of reactions, often leading to unfavorable communications, uncomfortable feelings, and negative perceptions.

I have rarely met a confident individual who is also arrogant, but I often find insecurity masked in ego.

June 16 at 7:42pm

Barbara Kay Women especially have been taught to minimize themselves in their appearance, accomplishments, etc. It seems that instead of just thanking someone for a compliment like, "you're so beautiful", we are taught that being "modest" or unaccepting of the compliment is the socially right thing to do. We say things like, "oh no I'm not pretty, I'm so fat - you're just being nice" or "I'm not really that smart, I just guess well." And sadly, a lot of it comes from the insecurity of men. I can't tell you how many times I've been told that I'm intimidating to men because I'm successful. And I hear all the time how I shouldn't really tell men anything about myself pretty much until there's a ring on my finger. I think a lot of young girls see this growing up and feel they have to downplay everything about themselves to be accepted.

June 16 at 8:02pm

Joshua Morton Heck, I wasnt always confident but I stood up straight because my muscles good resting tone! I completely agree with what youve typed.

© 2014 Brent Brookbush

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