Many people go about their daily activities with poor posture and suffer the consequences without realising it.
And some even recognise poor posture in their colleagues hunched over at their workstations without knowing they’re also in a similar situation.
What problems can poor posture cause? Quite a lot, and this is why everyone needs to know the effects of poor posture and how to correct it.
In this post, you’ll learn all about the symptoms of poor posture, why it’s harmful, and solutions to the problem.
First, though. Let’s find out what constitutes poor posture.
What Is Poor Posture?
Poor posture occurs when your spine is positioned in unnatural ways. This results in the tightening and weakening of some muscles. Prolonged poor posture also results in tissue build-up that can affect our health.
Often, poor posture develops gradually and may go unnoticed until it begins to interfere with daily tasks and cause pain. It can also make existing health conditions even more challenging to deal with.
Let’s look at the five common postural types that deviate from good posture.
1. Forward Head
Forward head posture occurs from hunching over a computer, steering wheel, or cellphone. In this situation, the head is positioned with the ears in front of the vertical midline of the body.
Forward head posture can be caused by ageing and weak upper body muscle strength. It is also known as tech neck because technology is a major cause of the issue.
2. Kyphosis Posture
This posture is characterised by a hunched appearance and a depressed chest. And is often the result of bad posture that has led to rounded shoulders and excessive back curves.
It occurs after prolonged poor posture and causes muscle weakness and compression fractures. Kyphosis posture is common among office workers, people with obesity, heavy-breasted women, the elderly, and very tall people.
3. Lordosis Posture
Typically, the human spine is curved a bit in the lower back. However, lordosis is associated with an excessive curve, a tilted pelvic region, and a projected head and stomach. This posture is common among pregnant women and truck drivers.
This kind of posture is often seen in people who carry weight in their abdominal regions like pregnant women, people with obesity, and teenagers who walk with an attitude. This posture allows the pelvis to be pulled forward, past the centre of gravity. Consequently, a person with a swayed back pokes their head forward, causing the upper back to curve.
People with a flat back lack the natural curves in the spine. The indented pelvis causes a forward stoop making it challenging to stand for long hours without experiencing back and leg pains. A flat back is often caused by muscle imbalances or degenerative disc disease.
Poor Posture Symptoms
A large number of people suffer from the effects of bad posture. These are painful conditions ranging from mild to severe. Low back pain is a common symptom associated with poor posture.
- Neck pain
- Shoulder pain
- Arm pain
- Knee problems
Some of the most painful symptoms of bad posture include general body pains, fatigue, and headaches. Often, these conditions will interfere with day-to-day activities.
Visible symptoms from poor posture are
- Rounded shoulders
- Bent knees
- Tilted head
- Locked knees.
Why Is Poor Posture Harmful?
Many of us slouch without even knowing it. The effects and complications of poor posture can affect our health and general well-being. It puts more strain on the muscles and joints and can be harmful in the following ways;
After some time, bad posture can alter the spine’s natural curves due to excessive pressure in the wrong position. Naturally, the spine can withstand shock, but the natural ability can deteriorate over time, leading to spine curvature.
Poor body posture can also strain the lower and upper back and shoulders. Back pain sufferers will experience pain from poor sitting positions below the neck and around the tailbone.
Neck Pain and Headaches
Putting your head down or hunching the shoulders can tighten the muscles around the shoulders and neck. Poor posture can put pressure on the muscles and cause tension headaches.
Over time, poor posture can begin to affect your comfort levels and ability to sleep soundly. This lack of sleep can cause fatigue, poor productivity, and mental issues like anxiety which can often worsen your posture since you don’t have the energy to correct it.
Poor sitting positions can lead to digestive issues. Since the body is not in the right position, the organs suffer compression. Consequently, the digestive system malfunctions and causes stomach issues.
Tight muscles and joints can compress your arteries and make your heart work harder. Consequently, sitting for long hours with bad posture prevents the body from getting enough blood circulation and puts the body at risk of developing circulatory problems.
How Can Physiotherapy Help Improve Posture?
Correcting poor posture is a long process that may require a professional’s help. So if you suffer from posture-related aches and pains, it’s wise to contact a physical therapist. They will assess your body and decide on the correct course of action to improve and maintain better body posture.
Fortunately, with physical therapy, some of the pain and discomfort from poor posture can be eliminated by strengthening the muscles and increasing flexibility.
Here are a few ways physical therapy help people with poor posture:
- Assessments and diagnosis of postural habits
- Postural muscle strengthening and stretching
- Education on ergonomic workstations
- Manual therapy and soft tissue massage
- Dry needling
- Postural tapping
- Joint mobilization
- Pilates exercises
Physical exercise is also recommended, along with physiotherapy. You can do some simple daily exercises to get the body back in shape.
Some of the exercises that can relieve pain associated with bad posture include;
Shoulder blade squeezes
While standing tall with your back and neck straight, squeeze your shoulder blades together as much as you can bear. Hold for about 5 seconds before repeating the process at least ten times, provided you do not experience any pain. You can do this a few times every day for the best results.
You can sit or stand to perform this exercise. Keep your shoulders back slightly and tuck your chin forward with your eyes and nose facing forward. Hold for two seconds and repeat ten times as long as you don’t feel any pain.
Lay on your back with your knees bent and your arms to the side in a T position. Rotate your knees to one side in an attempt to touch the floor while looking over your shoulder in the opposite direction. Maintain this position before switching to the opposite side.
The Importance of Good Posture
Good posture, also known as the neutral spine, is when the muscles surrounding the spine balance and support the body equally. Maintaining the right posture has several benefits.
Boosts Your Energy Levels
Your muscles can function well when the bones and joints are in the correct alignment. When our muscles don’t work overtime in an attempt to combat poor posture, we experience increased energy levels and productivity.
Reduces Pain And Tension In Your Shoulders And Neck
Bad posture puts a lot of strain on the upper back, shoulder and neck areas. However, good posture causes less stress to the joints and ligaments. Less tension around the shoulders and neck reduces headaches and neck pain
Increased lung Capacity
Slouching compresses the lungs, whereas a good posture provides enough room to aid proper breathing. So if you feel unnaturally out of breath when exercising, scheduling a check-up with a physiotherapist may be a good idea.
Tips For Maintaining Good Body Posture
With today’s sedentary lifestyles of sitting in front of a desk, driving a car, playing video games, or watching TV, the muscles in the body become weaker from not being properly aligned.
Instead, implement these tips to help you maintain body posture.
- Be conscious of your posture throughout the day. Frequent, short breaks can help you stretch and readjust your muscles.
- Engage in exercises that can strengthen your core and mid-back muscles, such as planks, crunches, mad cat, and bridges.
- Walk or run a few times weekly and stand tall as you do so.
- Be more aware of your breathing throughout the day. Take deep breaths to mobilise your spine.
- Use couches and recliners infrequently because they can cause poor posture
- Invest in an ergonomic workstation and ensure your chair is high enough with your computer right in front of you.
- Try sleeping as flat as possible, using one pillow behind your head for support. You can also put a pillow behind your knees while sleeping on your back or side.
What Are The Main Causes Of Bad Posture?
Several factors are responsible for poor posture, and most patients will experience decreased pain once the posture is corrected.
Some causes of bad posture are:
|● Occupational demands||● Poor core stability||● Stress|
|● Muscle tightness or weakness||● Workstations with poor ergonomics||● Genetics|
|● Poor fitness||● Joint stiffness||● Certain shoes|
What Muscles Are Affected By Bad Posture?
Poor posture can affect several parts of the body, including the:
And since your body needs to work as a synchronised whole, it’s common for the directly affected muscles to cause pain in other areas.
Start Treating Your Poor Posture Today
Our treatments are personalised for each patient. We will identify what you need to improve your posture and determine how to relieve your pain. Once our analysis is complete, we’ll show you the correct exercises to perform to help you live a pain-free life.
Contact us today to learn more about the effects of poor posture and the solutions for treating it.