Earlier today, a colleague sent me a link to an article in a Pittsburgh paper discussing how “Devices, Exercises Can Keep Technology From Being a Pain”. Out of the gates, the author makes the claim, “After years of telling us to sit up straight and don’t slouch, mom’s advice has stood the test of time.” I immediately did a #facepalm. And I did this for a couple of reasons.
Just a few days ago, the APTA announced that Dr. Anthony Delitto, PT, PhD, FAPTA, from the University of Pittsburgh, received a huge grant (millions) to study: “Targeted Interventions to Prevent Chronic Low Back Pain in High Risk Patients: A Multi-Site Pragmatic RCT.” This study will assess the transition from acute low back pain (LBP) to chronic LBP in an outpatient primary care physician (PCP) setting. The researchers will be comparing usual care with a team approach of PCPs, and physical therapists who will deliver cognitive behavioral therapy. This study will further assess the bio-psycho-social complexities of LBP and the effects of approaching care “beyond anatomy”.
Now back to the article in the paper. It had zero to do with this ground-breaking study out of Pittsburgh. Zero. Instead, the author perpetuated the myth that a causative relationship exists between “posture and pain”. For example, he states: “The role of posture in our lives and the dangers of ignoring it are getting more attention lately, including the development of new products, from posture shoes and shirts to step trackers and home body-alignment systems meant to address it.” Let’s look at these words closely: “DANGERS OF IGNORING IT”….
In the article, the author cited several clinicians in the Pittsburgh area (again, Dr. Delitto or the funding he received to study the complexity of LBP was not mentioned): “We are seeing injuries arise on a regular basis which stem from poor posture,” Read says. About 20 percent of the patients he treats for low-back pain require education and correction of postural issues. That percentage is more than doubled for patients visiting him for neck pain.
Technology, including sitting in poorly designed chairs for long periods at computers or bent over smartphones, seems to be the newest culprit.”
Later in the article, this author promotes “posture products”…Yes, products you can purchase to help provide postural control.
We need to quit perpetuating this myth. Seriously. We have learned so much about pain. We are doing wonderful research to better understand the complexities of pain. So why do we keep doing this? We all need to be better advocates for what we are doing and what we are learning. Let’s move past the 90’s…and on to 2015.