Posture and How it Can Affect Your Health

When your posture is ignored, it can have more of an impact on your life than you might think. Poor posture can affect the body from head to toe and can lead to long term concerns if not addressed. You can usually feel the first indication of poor posture through aches and pains in your back, neck, and/or shoulders. However, you can also have other signals that arise that you might not realise is related to your posture.

Head and neck pain are extremely common in those with poor posture. “Forward head posture” is a type of misalignment that causes the head to be positioned in a way that pushes your head forward and causes your ears to be in front of the midline of your body, rather than aligned. This can result in stiffness in your neck muscles and tendons, headaches (especially tension headaches), jaw tightness, musculoskeletal dysfunctions, and pain in nearby nerves.

“Tech neck” (also known as “text neck”) can also develop from being slouched over looking at a device. When you hold your head down and in a forward position, like many of us do when using a computer or mobile device, it can put weight on your neck and spine, which can lead to generalised pain and discomfort in this area, as well as neck spasms and/or a stiff neck.

Back pain is a more apparent symptom of poor posture, and it can cause a tight or stiff feeling in the spine or surrounding muscles. “Swayback” (also known as hyperlordosis) is a type of misalignment that causes your hips and pelvis to tilt forward, and it creates an inward curve in your lower back. This can develop from sitting for long periods of time, as the muscles in your back can become weak. As well, sitting while leaning forward can put stress on your back, as it can put pressure on your lumbar discs. Back pain can also cause poor sleep, due to the inability to fully relax or find a comfortable sleeping position.

Breathing difficulty is another concern that can develop from poor posture, largely due to rib cage and diaphragm restriction that can lead to a reduction in lung capacity and shortness of breath. A recent study found that those who position themselves in a slouched sitting position can develop a reduction in diaphragm muscle strength, which can cause feelings of shallow breathing.

If you find your body exhibits some of the physical complications caused by poor posture, it is never too late to take action. Some of the ways you can start practicing good posture is by stretching, walking around after sitting for long periods, keeping your back straight while sitting to prevent your shoulders from rolling forward, and trying to keep your head, shoulders, and hips as centred as possible.

Remedial massage can help with the physical aches and pain that develop from poor posture. Deep tissue massage can release knots or tension throughout our muscles, and address areas of your body affected by poor posture.