• Dr. Tameka Duncan, DPT

Is Posture Really That Important?

Updated: Apr 16, 2020

Dr. Tameka Duncan, PT, DPT, Cert. MDT

“Sit up straight, stop slouching, pull your shoulders back!"

Did your mom, aunt, or grandmother ever correct your posture as a child? Mine certainly did. As much as we may have disliked the posture lectures, I can appreciate the concern for our spinal health, particularly now as a physical therapist.

I often equate posture to the foundation of a home. When the foundation of a home is faulty the structural integrity is compromised. That home will eventually present with cracks in the walls, uneven flooring, crooked doors, and crooked windows. The same principle can be applied to poor posture. Poor posture leads to poor mechanics of the body.

Consistently sitting with bad posture can lead to adaptive changes within the body. Those adaptive changes may present as tightened, overstretched, and/or weakened muscles, irritable nerves, decreased joint mobility, and abnormal movement patterns. This may present as chronic headaches, recurrent neck and back pain, breathing issues, and other injuries. Those adaptive changes can contribute to degenerative changes decreasing mobility and producing recurrent pain limiting your overall function and quality of life.

Poor posture can contribute to sharp pain in your arm while raising overhead into a cabinet. It can cause a pinching sensation in your shoulder while doing shoulder press during your workout. It can cause sciatic pain while sitting on your couch watching television. It can also cause back pain while assisting your child with schoolwork. As mentioned, poor posture leads to poor mechanics of the body affecting your overall function and mobility. If you find yourself sitting with a slouched posture, rounded shoulders, and a forward head you may benefit from postural correction.

Below are a few tips to help improve your posture and to decrease any discomfort that may be associated with it. (Disclaimer: It is advised that you seek the professional guidance of a physical therapist for a postural assessment to determine what is most appropriate for your body.)

  • Use a lumbar or towel roll when sitting 

  • Setup a proper ergonomic workstation 

  • Stand/walk every 30-60 minutes if you sit often during the day 

  • Stay active 

If you are having recurrent issues that are not resolved from postural correction, you may consider seeing a physical therapist to address your issues and concerns more specifically.

Dr. Tameka Duncan, PT, DPT, Cert. MDT

Founder - Vitality Sport & Rehab


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