What is bad posture?
Bad posture is where muscles are regularly used in a way that causes them to become tight and painful, whilst others are not used and so become weak.
Unfortunately, prolonged poor posture can cause painful conditions that last a lifetime if they go untreated.
Causes of bad posture
The following factors can all cause postural strain and contribute to developing poor posture:
- Hunching your back to lean over something regularly or for a prolonged period of time
- Craning your neck e.g. around a screen, to speak with someone
- Sitting down for long periods of time without getting up to stretch your muscles
- Holding a telephone receiver between your shoulder and your ear
- Tipping your head forwards or backwards to strain to see something
- Leaning on your dominant leg when standing
- Always using the same arm or shoulder to carry something like a laptop bag
- Regularly leaning over your mobile phone to text
- Doing the same activities every day at the gym
Effects of bad posture
Many of the factors above can cause muscle imbalances, which is where one muscle either becomes weaker or stronger than its counterpart, through overuse or underuse. For example, if you lean on a dominant leg whilst holding something like a toddler on your hip, it can affect the muscles along your spine, as well as putting strain on your lower back and hips. Similarly, if you are used to slouching and then need to do something which requires you to stand up straight, it can become painful due to muscles having compensated to make your regular slouch position more comfortable instead.
Muscle imbalances can also cause painful conditions such as:
- Sciatica: where your sciatic nerve becomes compressed, for example if a disc in your back moves to press on it
- Patella femoral syndrome: where you feel pain at the front of your knee, especially when standing up or walking up and down inclines such as stairs
Muscle imbalance can be a vicious circle. If one of your joints or muscles is pulled out of position and causes you pain, when your body readjusts itself so that it doesn’t do whatever it was doing that caused the pain, it can cause another muscle imbalance.
Symptoms of bad posture
Bad posture can also cause the following painful symptoms:
- Back pain
- Slipped discs
- Shoulder pain
- Neck pain
- Joint pain
- Eye strain
- Trapped nerves
- Muscle tears
- Weakening of muscles
- Tightening of muscles
Treatment for bad posture
Many of the causes of bad posture can be easily changed, so that your bad posture becomes good posture, which in turn makes the associated pains and conditions go away. However, some become more severe and will take time to fix, particularly where weaker muscles require strengthening and mobilising.
The key to treating bad posture is to identify the factors that are causing your postural strains, whether they are from something that you do at work, during a sporting activity, when travelling or just whilst sitting at home. For example, some people may not have noticed that they have a muscular imbalance from carrying their bag on the same shoulder for all of their life, but once you start to build up the muscle in the other shoulder, the improvement in posture and general comfort when carrying out that activity is always noticeable.
Book a postural analysis
At Positura, we have decades of experience in chiropractic, which lends itself to recognising what is affecting your posture and helps with identifying how to fix the problem.
To book a postural analysis, at home, in your workplace or even for using your car, contact Tracy on: 07794 311201 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.