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Common Posture Problems & What You Can Do About Them

March 16th, 2022 by
Category: Dr. Brooke Evans Posture

man in office attire sitting hunched over a laptop while talking on mobile phone

You might remember during your childhood or at school, your parents or teachers telling you to sit up straight or stand tall. Well, we all should have taken this advice a bit more seriously! The way we have been sitting, standing and sleeping throughout our entire lives is a big part of how many of us continue to carry ourselves. For many people, poor posture has been habituated over time and it is often now contributing to neck and/or back pain. In fact, about 4 million people or 1 in 6 Australians experience back problems annually (1).

It is important to note that poor posture also effects a multitude of different aspects within our body and the overall function of our nervous system. Maintaining a good posture is so important for your overall health and wellbeing. Therefore, it’s important to be able to identify poor postural habits that you have created over time, take accountability, action and start to introduce good behaviours within our daily routine and lifestyle to help correct them.

Common posture problems:

1. Forward head posture

This is when you are sitting with your head forward, away from its ‘neutral’ position. When our head is sitting in a forward position, it increases the load and compression on the neck. As a general rule, every 2.5cm that the head is in a forward posture, an additional 4-5kg of weight is felt on the neck!

2. Rounding shoulders

Rounding shoulders is exactly what it sounds like. You may often hear people refer to this as being in a slouched position. We can begin to develop rounding or rolled forward shoulders after being in this sustained, hunched position and adapting it as a postural habit.

3. Exaggerated curve in upper back

When the spine of the upper back curves at an increased angle. This can also be known as an increased kyphosis. This position is often adapted after continuously maintaining a slouched position, rounding shoulders and forward head carriage.

4. Exaggerated curve in mid/lower back

This is also known as increased lordosis or hyper lordosis. In this position, your pelvis tilts forward and creates an exaggerated curve in your mid to lower back region.

What can cause these common posture problems?

There are many things that can cause these comon posture problems, including:

  • Working/studying at a desk
  • Slouching for prolonged periods (prolonged use of technology or driving for sustained periods)
  • Poor sleeping habits (head too elevated/sleeping with too many pillows)
  • Weak postural muscles
  • Overactive muscles
  • Imbalance within the body
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Poor lifestyle habits
  • Natural ageing process

What can be done to help prevent these common posture issues from occurring?

Some things that can be done to prevent these common posture issues from occurring include:

  1. Being more aware of your posture
  2. Using a posture pole
  3. Staying active
  4. Ensure you have an ergonomic working environment
  5. Sleeping with the correct pillow

How Chiropractic may be able to help with postural issues

Regular spinal adjustments, home exercises (including mobilisation and strengthening) and continued education are all things a Chiropractor can provide to assist with making long-term, corrective changes to poor posture. A combination of all three allow for long-lasting, beneficial changes to not only your posture but also your overall body and nervous system.

Regular spinal adjustments

Spinal adjustments may help with the re-alignment of your spine. They aim to increase movement within your joints and reduce tension in the surrounding musculature. Spinal adjustments also aim to improve function within your body and nervous system. Better movement, feeling and function throughout your body will assist with correcting poor posture and seeing long-lasting benefits.

Home exercises – mobilisation & strengthening

It is important to continue re-enforcing good movement and mobilisation through your joints and reducing tension within the surrounding muscles. Many muscles are working too hard within your body and other muscles aren’t being used enough, which can create an imbalance and affect posture. A Chiropractor will work with you to make sure you are mobilising and strengthening the muscles that need it and assist in creating good habits to form better posture.

Education

Education of how to practice correct posture can also be provided by your Chiropractor. It is important to understand the recommended positions for everyday activities involving sitting, standing and sleeping. Our Chiropractors will be able to provide you with lifestyle advice, ergonomic advice, bed, and pillow assessments/advice to guide you to facilitate the correct posture during everyday life.

Health benefits of good posture:

Poor posture isn’t going to change overnight and does take a lot of hard work to make long-lasting beneficial changes, but it is very do-able. There are so many benefits to improving poor posture that make the process more than worth it. Health benefits of goog posture include:

  • A well-balanced body
  • Decreased muscle tension
  • Reduced stress on joints
  • Conservation of energy
  • A calmer nervous system
  • Reduced risk of injury

If you are or anyone you know are experiencing troubles with poor posture, I would suggest considering a consult with one of our Chiropractors or another trusted health professional. At Total Health Chiropractic we will be able to work with you to cultivate a personalised and comprehensive step-by-step plan to get your posture back on track.

Sources

  1. Back problems – Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. 2022. Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/chronic-musculoskeletal-conditions/back-problems/contents/what-are-back-problems

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