Why posture, discs and creep are connected

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Why posture, discs and creep are connected

Creep is not about halloween, pumpkins and goblins. ‘Creep’ refers to the progressive deformation of bodily structures, which occur when the structures are under a constant load that they were not designed to handle. It’s a neuromuscular response to static positions. If you have sat at a desk all day, had a long plane journey or long bike ride and then you stand up and move and feel stiff, this creep.

Leon Chaitow naturopathic book states – Creep in connective which include myofascial (parallel elastic) and series of elastic components can occur in as little as three minutes when under load (McGill 2002).

It might be helpful to think of creep in terms of something like a rubber fan belt on a car. When you repeatedly or consistently pull, stretch or hold the fan belt in ways it was not designed to be held for prolonged periods, the fan belt is not happy. It may eventually stretch, become deformed and no longer be able to bounce back into shape and therefore not give efficient engine function. The same thing can happen to structures throughout your body, especially the muscles and tissues in your back.

This diagram showing how the load on the tissues varies , depending on our body position. Creep kicks in when we are in any spinal position from flexion to rotation.  There is least pressure on a disc when lying down or in a semi flexed position than when slumped forwards. A medical study showed that after holding a stooped posture for three minutes with the back hunched and head stooped forwards. Subjects were less  persistent on a puzzle solving task (measured by the number of attempts made to solve the puzzle) than those who held an upright physical posture (Risking and Gotay).

It is advised that those who experience prolonged full flexion postures (as might a seated warehouse shipper/receiver, gardener, rower or construction worker) to stand and walk for a few minutes prior to performing demanding manual exertions. Indeed, temporary joint flexion laxity, following a bout of full flexion, may increase the risk of hyperflexion injury to certain tissues. The Stuart McGill study looked at 27 males and 20 females of a period of 20 minutes. The flexion increased 5.5 degrees over the 20 mins. ‘The flexion—creep data was fitted with a first-order step input response having a time constant of 9.4 min. Maximum flexion was also documented over the recovery phase, lasting 30 min, indicating that subjects regained approximately 50% of their resting joint stiffness within 2 min of resuming relaxed lordosis, although full recovery took longer than the flexion—creep, indicating the presence of viscoelastic hysteresis. For this reason it may be prudent to advise those who experience prolonged’.1.

Our client Graham not only sits at a desk all day but also rosa and cycles to work. Pilates can greatly help him. “Rowing requires good posture and flexibility both of which i feel pilates is greatly helping me with. The flexibility is needed to reach forward (the better reach the more time your oar spends in the water which translates into speed of the boat. My flexibility, whilst still relatively poor is significantly better due to pilates”.  Pilates client Graham 

Graham in action -Mellalieu Photography

“Posture – If you don’t sit up straight the balance of the boat is thrown off and my natural posture prior to starting pilates was nowhere near as good as it is now, the natural thing to do as you get tired is to let the posture go but pilates is helping me naturally keep posture better for longer”. Pilates client Graham


1.Creep response of the lumbar spine to prolonged full flexion – Author links open overlay panel S.M.McGillPhDS.BrownBsc

By | 2018-11-03T14:20:39+00:00 October 28th, 2018|anatomy, back pain, stress|0 Comments

About the Author:

Nisha is a certified Chek practitioner and holistic lifestyle coach.Her journey started when a visiting Laban teacher introduced her to Pilates at Dance College during her first year. It's effects were forgotten but she then re discovered Pilates through Michael King eleven years later whilst running her dance school. Her background spans over 25 years with formal training in classical ballet, modern dance, tap, national choreography, stage production and theatre. Her formation includes Pilates, Thai bodywork, Yoga, GYROTONIC, GYROKINESIS and anatomical studies. Her particular interest is fascia, and the connective lines and movement patterns that allow a full moving structure rather than the isolation of bones and muscles. Her fascination with questioning the traditions of modern medicine and fascination with searching for meaningful answers has taken her in many different directions and has offered her an abundance of opportunities gaining a wealth of knowledge. “I tried many movement modalities and extended my search after experiencing fascia, because of its simplicity in movement. Quickly, I noticed my own body changing as well as the bodies of my own clients. In the last 25 years of teaching I’ve developed a workout unique to Yoga Anatomy". Throughout her studies Nisha has done numerous dissections with Julian Baker and Cery Davies and has the opportunity to take lectures and courses from Robert Schleip, Joanne Avisons, Tom Myers, Matt Wallden, Emma Lane, Gary Carter, Paul Chek, Dan Hellman, Peter Blackaby, James de Silva plus many many more Nishas teaching method promotes reflective self-discovery and provides the requirements to integrate a shift in consciousness for attaining individual goals. She maintains that an attitude of compassion, consistency and joyous humor are excellent components to growth and expanded potential. She welcomes all level of movers from the beginner to the seasoned athlete who have a desire to increase their skill potential, also teachers and students. Her specialties include assisting post rehabilitative individuals, injury prevention for dancers and athletes and advanced movement programs.