As we get older, bad habits such as slouching and inactivity cause muscle fatigue and tension that ultimately lead to poor posture. The human body is amazing at adapting to stress and strains, quite often causing compensation patterns and postures which eventually puts further stress on the body.
Prolonged positioning or repetitive habitual poor postures may result in negative consequences such as those listed below:
- Pain in the neck, mid-back or low back
- Muscle spasm/tightness
- Decreased range of motion
- Increased risk for disc herniation
- Headaches (including migraines, tension)
- Teeth clenching & TMJ problems
- Poor digestion
- Less energy, poor mood
Making small adaptions to regular postures and incorporating daily exercises to balance out your posture can have great beneficial effects. Above is an example of how to and how not to sit at a desk. More can be done to avoid these problems; exercises, stretches and regular physical therapy creates a great combination to prevent mechanical back pain.
More advice is available online from many sites and local professionals. Free spine checks are available.
The Most Common Causes of Poor Posture
The most common poor postures involve slouching and exaggerating the Lumbar curve (ie sticking out the bottom). These postures are commonly called Upper and Lower Cross Syndrome, first described by Dr. Vladimir Janda. In these syndromes, there is a pattern of imbalance between muscle groups which in turn, results in them becoming relatively tight/short versus muscles that become weak/long.
Posture modification and daily stretching can help in alleviating this.
These postures and muscle patterns are increasingly exacerbated in today’s society as we are becoming a more flexion-addicted population. As seen in office workers and students who tend to sit at a desk for prolonged periods. Other aggravating activities include reclining on the sofa and driving in one’s car, these are postures in which people are frequently hunched. Observe yourself in these situations and see how your own posture is.