4 different types of poor posture and what you can do to fix it.
First let me start by explaining what an ideal posture looks like. Good posture means having whats called a ‘neutral spine’. A Neutral spine is when all 3 curves of the spine; cervical – (neck), thoracic – (upper back), and lumbar (lower back) are present and in good alignment. It is the most stable and shock absorbing position for the spine therefore it greatly reduces your chances of injury.
An ideal posture involves having a neutral spine so that there is minimal stress and strain on the body, which in turn, allows the muscles to work efficiently.
I want you to imagine for a second that your head is a ball weighing 5kg.
Now think about how your posture is when you are using your mobile phone or sitting at your desk.
If you are someone that sits with a forward head posture (meaning you hunch forward) then your 5kg ball (your head) is weighing down on the front of your body causing all sorts of imbalances. You may find you have a sore back and neck at the end of the day or you may get regular headaches. Postural deviations such as kyphosis (exaggerated rounding of the upper back) or lordosis (excessive inward curvature of the lower back) occur when the spine deviates from its neutral position.
To many people these days are walking around with bad posture which is contributing to a number of health problems. As a theatre Nurse, I have witnessed time and time again, people coming in for surgeries that may (or may not have) been avoided if they had addressed their poor posture early on.
I wanted to explain a few of the most common postural deviations and mention a few of the areas that you need to stretch and strengthen in order to correct each type of posture. If you can relate to any of these postural deviations, I highly recommend giving Pilates a go or if you are unsure, ask your physiotherapist whether Pilates is right for you!
Pilates is known to help improve poor posture as it is focused on stretching the muscles in your body that are tight and strengthening the muscles in your body that are weak.
Kyphosis (Rounding the upper back)
Also known as a ‘hunchback’. Kyphosis may also be associated with a forward head posture and rounded shoulders.
Kyphosis, along with a forward head posture can commonly cause neck, head and shoulder tension and pain.
It often results from poor long term postural habits of “slumping” at the computer or whilst driving, sitting poorly on the couch, or poor sleeping posture. It may also be exacerbated by poor eyesight or hearing problems.
To help correct a Kyphosis, you need to:
Stretch: Chest and neck muscles
Strengthen: Upper back and shoulder muscles.
Lordosis (excessive curve of the lower back)
It is normal to have a small curve through your lower back however, lordosis is when this curve is excessive. This condition may be associated with a forward pelvic tilt or a kyphosis.
To help correct a lordosis, you will need to:
Stretch:Your back and hip flexors
Strengthen: Glutes, abs and possibly your hamstrings
This is the classic ‘slouched’ posture. In a swayback posture the pelvis is placed forward of the chest – this is the reverse of neutral spine.
To help correct a sway back posture, you need to:
Stretch:Hamstrings, neck and chest
Strengthen: Hip flexors, glutes, side abs and upper back
Flat back is not as common as sway back or lordosis; however, it is still a postural deviation. With a flat back, the lower back loses its normal curve and is pulled by tight muscles.
To help correct a flat back, you need to:
Stretch: Hamstrings, glutes, abdominals and neck muscles.
Strengthen: Hip flexors, quads, upper back and neck muscles.
When it comes to correcting posture, it is always a balancing act! There are always going to be muscles that are tight and muscles that are weak. It is a matter of addressing these and stretching the muscles that are tight and strengthening the muscles that are weak.
Pilates is all about stretching and strengthening, hence why it is so good at correcting posture. I highly suggest finding a local studio or speaking to your GP or physio and finding out if a Pilates program would be suitable for you.
What posture type are you?
Alex is a qualified Personal Trainer, Pilates Instructor and Registered Nurse.
She started working in the fitness industry as a personal trainer when she was 18 while studying at university to become a Nurse. It was after a few years of Personal Training that she discovered her love for Pilates!
Pilates quickly became her favourite type of exercise and she could not get enough! Her passion for Pilates led her to start up Duo Pilates, a Pilates studio in Morningside, Brisbane in 2016.
Alex is big on educating her clients about their movement while taking them through an intensive Pilates workout. She believes that in order to train our body the right way, we first need to train the mind to acquire body awareness.
Keep an eye out for her Pilates E-Book coming soon called ‘The Duo Pilates Method’ packed with 12 weeks of programmed Pilates classes that you can do from home.
You can follow Alex on Instagram @duopilatesauor get in contact with her via email firstname.lastname@example.org