The body does not lie - Introduction to Postural psychology in the treatment of chronic musculoskeletal pain

Postural psychology in the treatment of chronic musculoskeletal pain. More than the alignment of our body, Human posture deeply and inevitably reflects our life experiences, traumas, and beliefs. We will see what fundamental movement patterns and emotions determine our human posture and how the body is not the lesser God but shapes our mind and psychological landscape.

When we look at the human upright posture, we look at millions of years of daily practice, Specific musculoskeletal rules, and ancestral emotions drive our movements. Shortly after birth, a world of sensorimotor experiences awakens our postural reflexes. And subjects our body to specific neuromuscular sequencing so we can roll, crawl, stand upright, walk and eventually run, dance, jump, etc. It is an innate desire to go towards what fulfils us and what brings us joy, and ancestral emotions drive our movement’s patterns and shape our human posture. When this fundamental freedom is threatened, we feel fear and pain. And over millions of years, we also have developed an automatic stress response to either fight, flight or freeze in a time of danger. When the stress has passed, our muscle tension releases and we move back to our original state of postural equilibrium, freedom, and growth.

But what if the stress doesn't get resolved? What if we endure physical or emotional pain for months and sometimes years? This permanent emotional tension is reflected in constant Postural muscle tension which over time becomes unconscious. Chronic Musculoskeletal pain does not happen overnight and provokes complex muscle imbalances, brings havoc in our spine, joints and change our posture and movement patterns without our awareness. The source of pain, constant discomfort, anxiety, and depression is blurred or altogether forgotten.

Chronic musculoskeletal pain is a complex and under serviced health burden that affects 1.7 billion people globally and cost billions of dollars to our health system. People are desperate to find an effective modern solution for chronic pain, and conventional approach has failed at treating the chronicity of musculoskeletal conditions The mounting scientific evidence for the therapeutic benefits of yoga for stress and musculoskeletal conditions is reflected by GP, physios, chiros, and alternative health practitioners referring their patients to Yoga. However, this does not mean that the public is trusting yoga as medicine, yet. At rest, our postural tension is equivalent to a 50volt light bulb! Maintaining the alignment of our body and the health of our spine and joints, and giving us stability. For that reason, our deep Postural muscles must be trained very differently than our global musculature demanding a great deal of awareness of the link between our movements and our thoughts and emotions. We can build on already well-established Yoga Techniques such as mindfulness, breathing, alignment and therapeutic movements and advance our approach to the treatment of chronic neuro- musculoskeletal considerably.

Sylviane Gourdon-James

Sylviane is a Senior Yoga teacher and Mentor with a strong presence in the community as a chronic musculoskeletal pain specialist here and overseas. She is now committed to introducing Postural Psychology Worldwide. Sylviane has run retreats in Australia and Overseas, taught Teachers Training course since late 1990’s and presented at the 2014 Yoga conference