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Many neck, back, shoulder and even hip problems relate to posture. And (no surprises here) headaches often have a postural element. Even the chances of getting RSI and elbow pain are greater if sitting posture is poor.

Our spine is designed to have three gentle curves, possibly to give shock absorption when we are upright and on the move. The neck and the lower back should have a gentle “sway” inwards, and the upper back a curve outwards. If these curves are smooth and not over-emphasized, the discs, the joints and the ligaments of the spine are all in their best alignment, and should not cause pain. Poor posture usually ends up altering this ideal situation. For example, someone whose lower back slouches while sitting creates a “C” curve instead of an “S” all the way up to the neck. Chances are, the neck curve will then be emphasized in order to look ahead. Not a good position for the whole spine! Someone who slouches the top half of the body and looks down at (a common example) their phone, creates a “C” curve at the upper back and neck. This places significant strain on the neck in particular.

Once poor posture has been adopted for some time, joints and muscles become stiff, and often sore. Attempts at correcting posture are then made difficult due to stiffness. Also, without good instruction, people may try to over-correct posture. They end up flipping back and forth from slouchy to overly upright/edge of the chair position! Neither is ideal, and can cause muscle fatigue, disc problems and pain.

Poor posture is not confined to sitting only. Standing incorrectly can put pressure on knees, hips and spine. The posture you adopt to bend and lift could also require attention. Plenty of parents of young children know the perils of not planning out how to wrestle a toddler into a car seat!

At Macquarie Street Physiotherapy, we may photograph you so that you can see your three spinal curves in profile. Then we will work on a check list for correcting your posture, so that you can review/correct yourself on the bus, or while standing in a queue. It might be that stretches or core exercises need to be started to help you maintain your newly improved posture. We can help you on the road to looking taller and younger, while being more comfortable sitting and standing.


Macquarie Street Physio