4 different type of bad 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 (AKA 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.

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.

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 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!

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, 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

Sway Back

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

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 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.

If so, check out THE DUO PILATES METHOD – an online 12 week stretch/strengthen Pilates workout program designed to help you improve your posture and overall core strength. Click on the link below to find out more!

Disclaimer: The content in this blog post “4 Different Types of Bad Posture and what you can do to fix it” is written by Alexandra Richardson. The information within this program is designed to help individuals towards their health and fitness goals. It is not written to promote poor body image or extreme training regimes. You are completing the exercises within this workout program at your own risk. It is not specifically tailored to suit any injuries, health problems or any other problems that could be aggravated with low, moderate or high intensity physical exercise. If you are an individual with such problems, please seek medical clearance from a health professional before undertaking this program.