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Understanding Poor Posture

Poor posture is a common thing we see with our patients. My name is Devin McLaughlin and I am a Physical Therapy Assistant at Robbins Rehabilitation East in Easton, PA. In this post I want to help you better understand postural issues, the types of problems that can occur, and what you can do about it.

First off, poor posture can really effect multiple areas within the body. The most common area of the body associated or effected is a combination of the cervical spine, neck and shoulders. In other words, poor posture is caused by muscle imbalances secondary to your spine being in unnatural positions for sustained periods of time. Visual appearances of poor posture typically include rounded shoulders, a forward tilted head or a flexed neck. In other instances, your low back can also be effected by poor posture. If you are showing either a flat back or a swayed back appearance this is a clear sign. The image below gives a visual of different types of posture we see.

What causes poor posture?

There are many things that can influence your posture. Most commonly in today’s society electronics play a significant role in poor posture. Lack of ergonomic work stations, weakness in specific musculature or lack of mobility, and living a sedentary lifestyle are all other possible contributions to poor posture.

Is my poor posture actually a problem?

Absolutely. Poor posture can have multiple negative consequences if not properly addressed. In the beginning you may notice onset of headaches, neck pain, low back pain or even trouble breathing. In more severe circumstances you may develop radicular symptoms in which there is actually compression on nerves that cause pain down your arms or down your legs. Long term compression of these nerves will lead to not only discomfort but will promote weakness in the muscles innervated by the nerves involved.

Can I fix my posture?

This is unfortunately a yes and no question. Due to common degenerative changes that occur overtime there are certain postural changes that occur that you can’t really change. However, this doesn’t mean you are doomed to have pain because of this. With proper therapeutic interventions you can still improve strength and mobility to reduce worsening of symptoms. In addition, poor posture caused by some of the issues listed above can certainly be corrected. For starters, simply taking the time to become aware of slouched posture. Whether it be secondary to work, or over use of electronics, just being aware is step 1. By becoming aware of these bad habits you can take control in self correction. In fact, there are multiple exercises that are simple and take little time to do making it easy to squeeze into a busy schedule.

In closing, check out our blog on the Top 3 Exercises for Poor Posture by our very own Mac Weis, DPT. This blog is not meant for diagnosing and is intended for informational purposes only. If you have poor posture with pain in any way stemming from this issue please see your physical therapist. Here at Robbins Rehabilitation East, we offer free evaluations. You can request a Free Evaluation with one of our awesome physical therapists at any time.

Devin McLaughlin, PTA

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Todd Robbins


"We Help Individuals Live Pain-Free, Move Better, and End Their Frustration With The Right Diagnosis And Personalized Care"