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Poor Posture

Poor posture can place an enormous strain on the spine, shoulders, hips and knees leading to joint pain, tension headaches, muscle trauma and limited flexibility. Yet many people lead extremely busy lives and are simply unaware of the bad habits they have adopted.

At the Osteopathic Clinic, 90% of the patients we treat have neck problems – a statistic which has more than doubled since the advent of mobile phones and tablet computers.
Repetitive texting, regular email-checking, sitting at a poorly designed work station, carrying heavy schoolbags and looking at the floor whilst walking are among the actions that can contribute to rounded shoulders, hunched backs, stoops, downward-pointing chins, dowager’s humps and result in heads hanging too far over the body.

The problems

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Unexplained eye and ear symptoms
  • Shoulder, upper back and chest pain
  • Constriction of internal organs
  • Digestive problems
  • Reduced flexibility
  • Muscle trauma
  • Joint pain
  • Hunched backs
  • Stoops
  • Rounded shoulders

There’s a strong relationship between poor posture and pain, movement patterns and the ageing process. Yet simple adjustments can make a vast difference. Over the years the rules around what constitutes good posture have changed. Advice previously focussed on the traditional military stance – an upward chin, and a rigid, straight back with pulled back shoulders. However, this approach is now deemed out of date and problematic. It is widely accepted that flattening your postural curve in this way can in fact cause more musculoskeletal problems by limiting the body’s ability to absorb shock. Ballet dancers often experience back problems because their spines are very straight which means they are unable to diffuse stress elsewhere in the body. The three distinctive curves in the back act as shock absorbers.

Teaching has progressed and today’s patients are advised visualise their spine as a long curve with appropriate connection with the deeper stabilisers and huge emphasis on diaphragmatic breathing.

Tips for good posture

Step one: Engage your core. This helps the pelvis find its neutral position and, in turn, activates the muscles that act as a girdle supporting the shoulders and cervical spine.
Step two: Lengthen the back of the neck and keep the sternum forward of the pubis.
Step three: Pay attention to correct alignment at all times by performing the above.

The Benefits

Good posture helps people lead lives without pain and stiffness. It frees up internal organs, improves blood flow and circulation which helps muscles perform better and breeds confidence – those with good posture look more confident and slimmer too.
Practising these techniques on a daily basis will ensure they automatically become part of everyday life. Props in the workplace can also support the body – foot stools, arm wrests and wrist supports are helpful aids. The main aim is to keep it simple and stay relaxed.


Our osteopaths and clinical pilates teachers can help you improve your posture by introducing you to techniques that will remain with you for life.

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