Posture and your back

Are you constantly hearing that you should sit up straight? Do you really understand what that means?

Our physiotherapy clinic sees a large number of people with back and neck problems, where poor posture has been a contributing factor. Poor posture can also contribute to other problems such as shoulder, arm and leg pains.

Good posture means your muscles have to do the least amount of work to hold you up against gravity and the force of gravity is evenly distributed so that no particular area is overstressed. Poor posture will mean your body is less resistant to the strains and stresses we experience over the months, years and decades of life.

Sitting for long periods with a slumped posture can cause a variety of postural pains such as neck ache, shoulder ache, elbow or wrist pain, and low backache. It can also cause stiffness when getting up from sitting. Standing or walking with poor posture will also cause postural pains such as leg pain, knee pain, and low backache.

Being aware of good posture is the first step to breaking old poor postural habits and reducing stress and strain on your spine. It will help you reduce any postural pains you may experience day to day, and help to prevent any more serious problems developing. Your posture will vary depending on whether you are standing or sitting. You will often find that your posture is worse in sitting but better when you stand, therefore you must become aware of it whatever position you are in.

Find practical tips to improve your posture in our guide to posture and your back.