Poor posture is often the result of an individual’s daily activities and patterns of muscular dysfunction. Some muscles become tight or shortened while others lengthen and become weakened. Many factors contribute to bad posture, including work, lifestyle and stress levels.
Having poor posture can also contribute to a number of problems as it affects the physiological functioning of the human body. Changes in posture can result in neck and back pain and headaches.
Changes in posture can present as rounding of the shoulders which may also be elevated, and a forward carriage of the head. This results in extra stress on the joints of the spine and the surrounding muscles and soft tissues. The shoulder joints lose stability which alters normal movement patterns of the arms.
Another common pattern seen is a forward tilting of the hips which increases the normal curve of the lower back and causes the stomach to stick out. As a result there is increased stress on the spinal joints of the lower back and pelvis.
Other common findings include unnatural tilting of the head, one shoulder or hip being slightly higher than the other, abnormal changes in gait, or feet that turn in or out.
Those who spend a lot of time sitting, such as drivers or office workers are at risk of developing poor posture. More recently there has also been an increase in children and adolescents with posture related back pain as a result of carrying heavy school bags (often incorrectly) and spending hours slumped in front of the television or gaming.
Poor posture is easily recognised by a chiropractor, as are the various musculoskeletal issues resulting from it.
Chiropractors use specific joint manipulations and mobilisations, and soft tissue therapies to address any muscular tension or weakness that has resulted from postural abnormalities. Although the chiropractor cannot force good posture on a patient, he or she can realign the structures of the back, neck, hips and pelvis, recommend exercises to strengthen the core muscles or address any muscle imbalance that may exist as well as giving ergonomic advice.