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Bad Posture

Most people do not realize how important posture is.  Posture related pain ranges from the most common low back pain, shoulder and neck pain to frequent headaches and TMJ dysfunction.  Bad posture is a downward spiral because your body typically compensates for  bad posture with worsening posture.  Your lower body posture changes too, and when you start walking around with bent knees, you really look prematurely old, and probably feel it as well.  You probably wouldn't connect bad posture and anxiety, but they connect through changes in breathing patterns.  Bad posture can cause GERD (reflux) symptoms, constipation and other functional problems.

Common Causes   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •

Bad posture can most often be blamed on your feet.  Because your feet hyperpronate (arches collapse and ankles roll in), they do not properly support your body. Like a house on a bad foundation, your whole body is impacted. Your knees rotate inward, your back sways, making your stomach and buttocks stick out, your shoulders roll forward and your head is forward of your shoulders — the perfect definition of bad posture. You are off balance and it shows (find a candid side view picture of yourself!!).   You are stressing your body, and over time you are causing physical damage to your muscles, ligaments and joints.

Head Forward
Shoulders Forward
Sunken Chest
Pelvis Forward
Knock Kneed
Unstable Feet

How to eliminate the pain

Being aware of your posture, straightening your back, lifting your chest, rolling your shoulders back and rotating your pelvis so your stomach and behind are tucked in will help improve your posture.  Unless posture is part of your sport or exercise, if you're like most people, you will have a hard time being consistent with it. 

Some people consciously or subconsciously roll their feet out (supinate) to counteract hyperpronation and because it feels better.  They usually have a better posture, but walking on the outside of your feet brings its own problems and pain (like shin splints).   

Arch supports and heel shims (orthotics) are often recommended for posture improvement, but unless you stand still all day, like your house, shimming the foundation does not work, and, arch supports will weaken your feet.