Bad posture is one of, if not the most common condition that health care practitioners deal with daily. Posture can be the root cause of pain or occur secondary to an injury.
There are two common types of posture we will touch base on:
- Kyphotic posture – head forward and rounded shoulder posture
- Lordotic posture – a large curve in the lower back
Common causes of bad posture
The more common causes of poor posture are muscle imbalances, where muscles on one side of the body are weaker vs stronger or longer vs shorter than their counterparts due to continued postural habits from work or activities of daily living (ADLs).
Kyphotic posture causes
For Kyphotic posture, strong chest, and anterior neck muscles vs weak back and posterior neck muscles can cause our chin and shoulders to come forward and put stress onto our neck and back. Which may lead to headaches, trigger point or “knots,” shoulder impingement or pinching issues and nerve pain down the arm.
Lardotic posture causes
For Lordotic posture, strong hip flexors (muscles in the front of the hip) and back muscles vs weak abdominal muscles and glutes (our bum muscles) will bring our pelvis forward and shoot our tailbone back and up, which may create low back pain, tension in our hamstrings and nerve pain down the leg.
How do we fix bad posture?
So, how do we fix bad posture? First you need to figure out whether your posture is poor. If you sit or stand for prolonged periods of time, chances are you probably have some imbalances. Seeking out a health care provider like a chiropractor, physiotherapist, massage therapist, kinesiologist or a combination of providers is just part of the puzzle. As health care providers, it is our job to identify if there is a muscle imbalance and work with you on how to correct it.
The other key piece (the most important piece) of this puzzle is your compliance with our recommendations. As much as we would like to “cure” bad posture in the clinic, the fastest and biggest successes come from your habit changes and mobility. Now, we aren’t asking you to change overnight but little things can go a long way. Personally, I like to start with little reminders you can set in your phone such as “tuck your chin”, “get up and walk”, “chest tall”. You can set these reminders for every hour to start. This will help build better habits at home or work. Next, work on stretching the tighter muscles and strengthening the weaker muscles. This may sound hard but again, start small and work up. If you can set aside 15 minutes a day, 3 days a week, you are off to an amazing start!
Simple Exercises for Improving Kyphotic Posture
The Doorway Stretch
2 sets, hold for a minimum of 30 seconds
External Shoulder Rotations
2 sets of 8 reps
Towelled Chin Tucks
3 sets, hold for 3 seconds each
Exercises for Improving Lordotic Posture
Couch Stretch (Hip Flexor Stretch)
Hold minimum 30 sec, 2 sets
2 sets of 8 reps
Hold 5-10 sec, 3 sets
Conclusion: you can fix bad posture
Bad posture is not something that has to control how you feel. It is something that can be managed or even corrected if you are able to put in the time and seek some guidance. Come visit us to learn more about how we can help.