Signs You May Have Bad Posture (And What To Do To Correct It)
To understand “bad” posture you need to have a point of reference. In the field of posture and as a posture expert we come to accept an “ideal” posture or what we refer to as “good” posture. Click here to explore good posture. For now let’s just say good posture is a body that is symmetrical, has a balanced musculoskeletal system whether it be still or moving and results in a higher order of function for organs, glands and tissues.
Good posture in a standing position from the side looks like this:
A plum line starting with the point just in front of the ankle and bisects:
- mid knee
- point of shoulder
And from back or front, looks like:
A plum line going from a point equi-distant between the feet and going straight up to the top of the head, should divide the body symmetrically producing:
- equal distance between knee
- level hips
- shoulders level
- level head
Naturally the degree in which your posture deviates from above the greater degree of dysfunction and risk of degeneration will be present. It translates into an unhealthy and undesired posture.
What Bad Posture Looks Like
To best explain what bad posture looks like, here is a person with a typical presentation of bad posture (this person came in because of low back pain)
From the side notice how his head does not line up with the rest of his body- This is called forward head translation. His entire body and shoulders are also forward indicating his body is off its center of gravity as represented by the green line. From the front view his head leans with his shoulders to one side. His center of gravity, which is represented by the red line, is off to his left. These deviations can result in common seen physical conditions. Here are a list of conditions that can occur due to bad posture:
- Belly fat due to greater stress that produces more cortisol
- Elevated/high blood pressure
- “Hunch” back appearance
- Higher mortality rate
- Dental malocclusions (overbite and underbite)
- Worsening of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)
- Reproductive difficulties
- Degeneration of joints
- Restricted breath
What does Bad Posture Feel Like?
Most people feel more pain and discomfort the worse their posture becomes. Pain from poor posture can present itself anywhere from head to toe. Poor posture can be felt not just physically but also emotionally. For example if you are angry, sad, confused, depressed you would see this person with their shoulders roll forward and arms crossed. Their chin maybe dropped and their face shows negative feelings. Consider the saying “carrying the weight of the world on yours shoulders”.
Generally speaking those with bad posture feel less than themselves. Sometimes they don’t even know it having been in bad posture for so long. At some point though as bad posture progresses the person feels as though they are falling apart, they have no energy or they can’t do the things they use to be able to do. They feel frustrated with feeling that they are getting older.
It’s important to know that lifestyle habits have much more influence on posture than age or genetics.
Moving With Bad Posture
Natural healthy movement is based off a healthy static (non-moving) posture. If static posture is poor then movement will be poor. The result of faulty movement will most likely mean immediate pain and if left uncorrected negative long term effects will appear. Muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints will be abnormally stressed causing wear and tear. Degeneration of theses tissues will accelerate aging and produce pain that becomes chronic.
Common signs of poor movement based off bad posture are seen as a person’s inability to perform basic human actions such as:
- Holding body in a plank pose
- Standing on one leg for greater than 15 seconds
- Lifting, stooping, rising from a sitting position
- Getting in and out of bed would also be challenging
Bad Posture – Who Would Want It?
Bad posture is a body that is asymmetrical, has a unbalanced musculoskeletal system still or moving. The result is a low order of function for organs, glands and tissues. Results of bad posture are diminished health, greater chance of emotional stress, physical pain and faulty movement resulting in premature aging of your body. In a nutshell, bad posture is a sign of wear and tear that will affect your overall health from head to toe. Bad posture affects how you look, feel and move and it’s a reflection of how you interact with the world around you.