Bad posture doesn’t just look bad – it’s also got some pretty devastating side effects if left unchecked.
So what can you expect if your slouching habit starts to get out of control?
Here we detail how this can affect you, plus some tips on how to improve your posture and lead a more balanced and relaxed life.
What is poor posture?
Poor posture happens when we slouch or unevenly distribute weight when we stand or sit. This lack of balance causes various muscles to weaken over time and others to become tighter – resulting in pain, stiffness, and difficulty maintaining a straight or neutral posture.
Bad posture, also known as postural dysfunction, is often the result of:
- Daily activities that cause the spine to be positioned unnaturally.
- Injury or weakness in the shoulders, back, or neck.
- Bending or leaning for prolonged periods.
- Types of shoes and clothing that cause stress on certain muscles.
- Obesity and age can also play a role in influencing bad posture.
Effects of poor posture
Bad posture is something our bodies gradually become used to, making it very hard to tackle. It may even feel more comfortable to maintain bad posture – which can easily lead to a vicious cycle. So, what can poor posture result in?
Lower back pain
One of the first and most common effects of bad posture is lower back pain and stiffness that can result from increased stress to the vertebrae, discs, muscles, and ligaments when we slouch forward. You may notice tension and pain in your lower back after a long day at work – this can be a strong indicator that you need to change your posture.
Neck pain and headaches
Bad posture also puts unwanted pressure on your neck. Long periods spent sitting and looking down at a screen, or with shoulders hunched forward, can result in tension headaches, neck pain, and stiffness. While neck pain is a fairly common symptom resulting from bad posture, it should be taken seriously as leaving it to go unchecked can result in persistent spinal pain.
A healthy spine follows the typical ’S’ shape. Over time, poor posture can deform and misalign the spine, causing lasting damage to its structure and ability to naturally absorb shocks. Poor posture, therefore, leaves the spine more vulnerable to future injuries.
Decreased lung capacity
Poor posture contributes to increased tension around the chest region which decreases the lung’s capacity for air, resulting in difficulty breathing. This reduction in lung capacity can be a serious issue for anyone with pre-existing conditions and should be taken very seriously.
Most of the body’s neural pathways find their way through the neck and spine – wiring up our brain to the rest of the body. Maintaining healthy neural pathways is essential for neural function. Collapsed posture puts pressure on certain areas of the spine and nerves – putting them at risk of becoming pinched or constricted.
Lack of sleep
Poor posture puts stress on muscles and ligaments – tightening them up throughout the day and making it difficult to properly relax. Poor posture can not only affect your ability to get to sleep, but also the quality of your sleep.
Tips on how to maintain good posture
Overcoming bad posture can take time and effort. Here are some tips on how to keep your posture in check:
[H3] – 1. Get the basics right
It’s important to know what good posture is. To maintain healthy posture, remember to keep your:
- Back comfortably straight
- Feet flat on the floor
- Shoulders held comfortably back – but relaxed
- Ears in line with collarbones
- Chest open and head up
2. Change how and when you use technology
Many postural issues arise from spending too much time hunched over screens and bending the head forward to text. If you’re finding you’re always looking down at your screen at work – try elevating the monitor until you’re staring straight ahead.
3. Stay fit and active
A strong back and a healthy spine are crucial in maintaining and supporting good posture. Make sure to keep up exercise (especially during lockdowns) to keep your muscles limber and resilient. Keeping fit will also help keep your bodyweight steady – which is a key factor in deterring a slouched posture.
4. Set a reminder during the day to adjust posture
Long days at the office or working from home make it easy to forget about maintaining good posture. Setting a simple reminder on your phone to keep your back straight can help you change bad habits over time.
5. Wear the right shoes
While it’s fine to slip on heels whenever you’re out and about – make sure you’re not compromising your posture by shifting your bodyweight too far forward. Wearing high heels or shoes that throw off your balance in this way can have big implications for your posture. Make sure to wear the right shoes for the occasion and choose lower-heeled shoes where possible.
Break the bad posture cycle: visit a physiotherapist today
If your posture is causing you pain, don’t let it worsen over time. Not dealing with postal issues early only makes it harder to rectify down the track. Visit a qualified back physio and get your posture back on track. Remember early action is always better: book your appointment today.