9 long-term effects of bad posture

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One thing that has probably never crossed your mind is that physical therapy could play a role in helping improve your posture. Posture is how your body is positioned when you are sitting or standing. It describes the alignment of your spine with your shoulders, head and hips. Good and bad posture both have effects on your health. 

Causes of bad posture

Working from home, scrolling on social media, relaxing on the couch watching television are all normal activities in our day-to-day lives. With these activities comes the opportunity for bad posture. When you think of bad posture, “Sit up straight!” may pop into your mind as well. Perhaps you even hear it in the voice of an older relative. Well, they weren’t wrong.  

Bad posture is a learned behavior. Our bodies adapt to positions we spend the most time in. In today’s world, our bodies are spending hours hunched over desks and cellphones. Our natural posture is becoming curved and slumped. The shift to worsening posture is leading to ill health effects, and these effects are physical and mental.

Physical and mental effects of bad posture

Bad posture can impact your appearance, your self confidence and your well-being. Slouchy sitting, slumping over keyboards and carrying heavy bags improperly with bad posture can lead to numerous effects on the body. Some of these long-term effects of poor posture include: 

  • Cortisol increases — Sitting curled in or slumped over can trick our bodies into thinking we are stressed. This can lead to an increase in cortisol (known as the stress hormone) production, which can have a negative impact on both your mental and physical health. 
  • Muscle issues — Extended time spent with poor posture can cause muscles to shorten and weaken. Shortened and weakened muscles can lead to core destabilization, decreased mobility, decreased balance, increased risk of falling and increased risk of injury.
  • Pelvic issues In women, bad posture can lead to an imbalance in core muscles, which can lead to pelvic issues like organ prolapse and/or incontinence.
  • Pain — Bad posture due to improper sitting can lead to back pain, neck pain and stiffness, shoulder pain and stiffness, and a potential increase in spinal pressure.
  • Fatigue — Being in pain can lead to an inability to get the rest your body needs and lead to fatigue.
  • Respiratory function decreases — Decreased mobility in the mid-back could lead to a decrease in respiratory function.
  • Digestion issues — Bad posture can lead to worsened food digestion.
  • Headaches — Poor posture causes stress on the neck, shoulder and head, which can lead to an increase in headaches.
  • Mental health issues — Bad posture can have an impact on your mental health. It can cause you to have issues concerning your appearance, your self-confidence and your overall well-being. Your mental health can also be negatively impacted by the increased cortisol that may be produced by bad posture.

How to prevent bad posture and the benefits to good posture

There is no such thing as perfect posture, but good posture is attainable. Bad posture has potential ill effects on the body. Good posture comes with health benefits. Good posture can reduce the stress on muscles, joints and ligaments. Less stress on these body structures can help keep you flexible and maintain better balance. No pain in your muscles, joints and ligaments can also reduce fatigue. Shifting from bad posture to good posture can be an easy switch in habits and well worth the benefits to your health.

If you notice your posture is worse at work, there are a few changes you can make to assist your path to better posture. You can change your workstation configuration to reduce the strain of working on a computer. A new ergonomic chair may also help as it can help you sit properly.

If you notice your posture is worse at home, changing your position while looking at your cellphone or while watching television can be an easy fix. If your pain from bad posture is causing you to sleep poorly, a new mattress may help. 

Other changes that you can make include wearing more supportive shoes, walking properly, carrying backpacks properly, breathing deeply and stretching. If you are uncertain on how to approach improving your posture, seeking physical therapy can be beneficial. A physical therapist can monitor that you are doing any exercises correctly. They can also take other steps to help you improve your posture. 

Pursuing physical therapy at Excel Sports & Physical Therapy can help your posture

You may be surprised that a physical therapist can help you with improving your posture. At Excel Sports & Physical Therapy, we know that physical therapy is not only for injury recovery. Our physical therapy experts can assist you with managing the pain caused by bad posture. They can also create a PT plan for you that’s designed to improve your posture, flexibility and overall mobility.. Let our team assist you in your journey to improved posture and better health. 

Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.