It was a patient who recently brought up the possibility of using a posture correcting brace. I admit, my immediate reaction was to respond negatively believing that a person should actively learn how to adapt to a better posture instead of using a crutch. But......upon thinking about it, and thinking about some of the patients I have in my pool, maybe no is not the best answer.
Some of my patients don't have the musculature base to work from easily. Some of my patients don't have the focus needed to correct and re-correct old patterns. Some of my patients work so hard and long that fatigue inevitably comes into play; and without having the strong "corset" muscles to begin with, correction becomes increasingly more difficult as the day goes on. I think that these are strong cases for using some type of correctional support in order to start to re-train the body and to minimize or possibly even avoid the chronic pain that comes from working in the modern world.
The patient that first brought this up with me is someone who is pretty dedicated to not only using acupuncture to relieve their inflammation, but also correcting the poor habits that could be contributing to their current condition. The patient tried the brace and found that when he started to slump, the brace would dig into his shoulders in such a way that it was a mild but definitive reminder to reposition his body. Meanwhile, during the times he had awareness of his posture, the brace helped to keep it there. There is obviously an assist in doing this, but at the same times, muscles that have been shortened for years because of hunching are being allowed the freedom to stretch. All good.
And because the world has a way of coming together at the right time, Esther Gokhale of the Gokahle Method (my go-to guru for all things posture), posted a blog post today regarding this very thing. So, braces, should we use them? Yes! The only "but", I would add is that yes, use the support, but first, understand exactly what it is you are correcting. I am happy to give you the pointers that I learned from The Gokhale Method. Or go to the source yourself and learn what you can.
Esther Gokhale's Blog Post: When, Why, and How to Use a Back Brace
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