Habits and their effect on the body

Ah yes habits. We all have them. Some of them bad and some of them good. But who would’ve thought that those pesky habits could be part of the reason why you are seeing your Osteopath.

So what is a habit?

 A habit is a routine of behaviour that is repeated regularly and tends to occur subconsciously.

*For those that were wondering, the most commonly reported habits are biting nails and playing with your hair.*

By nature we are habitual creatures. Many of us like parking in the same car space, sitting at the same desk space or crossing your legs as you sit. If you went looking into any aspect of your life you will find habits that you didn’t even realise you had.

So how can a habit effect your body?

This comes back to the definition. A habit is something that is done repeatedly and subconsciously. If you are doing something repeatedly you are continually putting the same stresses through your body which can result in overloading the tissues being worked. The habits that we most commonly see are desk posture, lifting technique, teeth grinding/clenching and the way you sit (think legs crossed, or slumped into the seat). All of which are easy enough to change!

The most difficult thing is that you don’t even realise you are doing it because it is engrained in the way you operate or the effect that it can have on your complaint. 

What can we do about these habits?

The first step is to identify the habits.

Once we have identified them we can go about modifying them. From my experience, it’s always better to replace a bad habit with a better habit otherwise there is a tendency for the old habit to creep back in. Some of things we replace habits with are a setting an alarm on your computer to remind you to move away from your desk, night splints can be a good circuit breaker for teeth grinding and working on squat and lifting mechanics.

So the next time your Osteopath asks you, and they will, about what position you sit in, they way you pick your kids up or even the position you sleep in make a conscious effort to take note and recognise some of your daily habits that could be contributing to your complaint.

Blog by Lachlan Cossens, Osteopath at McKinnon Osteopathy. Lachlan is a serial knuckle cracker and sits with his legs crossed.

To book an appointment with Lachlan Click here or call on 9578 2436






  1. 8 Tips To Get Rid of Bad Habits After WLS. (2018). Retrieved from http://www.obesityhelp.com/articles/8-tips-to-get-rid-of-bad-habits-after-wls
  2. The 7 Most Common Bad Habits and Why They’re So Hard to Break. (2018). Retrieved from https://mic.com/articles/54941/the-7-most-common-bad-habits-and-why-they-re-so-hard-to-break#.D6AyUuY52
  3. Habitsforwellbeing.com. (2018). What is a Habit, How do They Work and How Can I Change Them?. [online] Available at: https://www.habitsforwellbeing.com/what-is-a-habit-how-do-they-work-and-how-can-i-change-them/ [Accessed 1 Jun. 2018].

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