Types of Posture: How to Correct Bad Posture (2022)

Posture is the position of your body when you’re standing or sitting. It describes how your spine is aligned with your head, shoulders, and hips.

There’s no “perfect” posture, just as there are no perfect bodies. Good posture refers to having a neutral spine, where your muscle groups, joints, and ligaments are aligned in a way that reduces stress on them, keeps your body flexible, reduces fatigue, and helps maintain your balance.

If your posture is out of alignment, it can lead to:

  • muscle or joint strain
  • neck, head, or back pain
  • possible injury during exercise, work, or other activities

Bad or out-of-alignment posture is common. It can affect your appearance, self-confidence, and general well-being. The good news is that you can improve your posture with exercises and, if necessary, posture aids.

Here are four common types of poor posture and what you can do to correct or compensate for them.

It’s easy to develop a habit of bad posture without thinking about it. You may spend a long time leaning over a small screen, slouching in a chair, or carrying a heavy backpack when you walk. Or you may use repetitive motions in your workplace.

After a while, all of these factors can lead to bad posture.

Being overweight or pregnant, or wearing poor quality shoes or high heels, can also lead you to develop bad posture.

You may be born with scoliosis (an abnormally curved spine) or one leg shorter than the other, which can affect your posture.

Share on Pinterest
(Video) How To Correct Your Posture - 5 Home Exercises To Fix Your Posture

Here are four common types of poor posture.

Forward head

Forward head posture is when your head is positioned with your ears in front of the vertical midline of your body. If your body is in alignment, your ears and shoulders will be lined up with your vertical midline.

Tech neck, text neck, and nerd neck are other names for forward head posture. It often comes from hunching over a cell phone or computer, or your steering wheel if you drive a lot.

It can also result from the aging process, as you lose muscle strength in your upper body.

Kyphosis

Kyphosis refers to an exaggerated curvature of your upper back (the thoracic spine) where the shoulders are rounded forward. It’s also called hunchback.

Osteoporosis (bone thinning) can cause the shoulders to round as your spinal bones weaken with age. It’s frequently seen in older women. Other age-related causes include degeneration of your spinal disks or vertebrae.

Younger persons may develop kyphosis as a result of diseases such as polio or Scheuermann’s disease, infection, or chemotherapy or radiation to treat cancer.

Swayback

Swayback, also called lordosis or hyperlordosis, is when your hips and pelvis tilt forward, in front of your body’s midline.

In this position, your lower back has an exaggerated inward curve. You look like you’re leaning back when you’re standing up, with your stomach and your rear sticking out.

You can develop swayback if you sit a lot, which tightens the muscles in your back. Sitting for prolonged periods can also weaken your abdominal muscles and glutes. In both cases, the core muscles that stabilize your back become weak.

Other causes may be obesity, injury, neuromuscular conditions, and abnormalities of your spine and vertebrae.

Flatback

Flatback is a condition where the normal curve of your lower spine loses some of its curvature. Your lower back looks straight and you stoop forward.

It can be present at birth, or it can result from some kinds of back surgery or degenerative conditions of the spine, including ankylosing spondylitis (inflammatory arthritis), disc degeneration, and vertebrae compression.

Flatback can make it painful for you to stand for long periods.

Other types of posture

(Video) The 4 Posture Types - Types of bad posture - Posturepro

  • Poking chin. Sitting in a chair that’s too low and leaning forward to see your screen or looking up at a screen that’s placed too high can result in a chin that pokes forward.
  • Uneven shoulders or hips. You may tilt to one side when you stand if one leg is longer than the other. It may also affect your gait.
  • Military-style posture. Here your back is ramrod straight and your chest is thrust forward.

The optimal or efficient type of posture has your spine in alignment with your head and your limbs.

From the side, it should look like a plumb line from your head would go through the middle of yours ears and shoulders and just behind the center of your knee and in front of the center of your ankle.

It’s what’s meant by the phrase “standing up straight.”

Physically, proper spinal alignment means that your muscles and bones are in balance, protecting your body against injury or stresses that might cause degeneration of muscles or joints. It helps your body work more efficiently in keeping you upright against the force of gravity.

Bad posture can lead to many kinds of physical problems, from back pain to pain in your temporomandibular joint, to lack of balance and foot pronation.

Here are some specific effects for each type of misalignment.

Forward head posture

The effects of a forward head posture range from neck pain, stiffness, and headache to an association with higher mortality rates for elderly men and women.

Text neck tightens muscles and their supporting ligaments and tendons in the front of your neck, and at the same time lengthens the muscle structure at the back of your neck.

A small 2019 study of healthy college students found that a forward head posture decreases the lower thorax (mid-spine) mobility, leading to decreased respiratory function.

(Video) 5 Best Ways to Improve Your Posture - Ask Doctor Jo

The more you lean forward, the more head weight and strain you exert on your spine. The effect can be dramatic.

A 2014 study calculated the force in pounds of flexing the neck forward to different degrees.

In a neutral posture, your head weighs 10 to 12 pounds. When your forward posture is 15 degrees out of alignment, the force on your spine increases to 27 pounds. At 45 degrees forward, it increases to 49 pounds, and at 60 degrees forward, it increases to 60 pounds.

Kyphosis

Kyphosis is a more extreme form of forward head posture. The degree to which you’re hunched over determines the amount of pain and dysfunction you’ll experience from this misalignment.

When you’re severely hunched over, it’s harder to walk, and you have an increased risk of falls and injuries. Older women with hyperkyphosis have a 70 percent increased risk of fracture.

Kyphosis affects mobility and mortality in older people. In our aging population, kyphosis is estimated to affect 20 to 40 percent of older men and women, and the angle of kyphosis continues to increase as you age.

Swayback

When your spine is in the swayback position, it may cause back pain that affects your ability to move.

Swayback also increases your risk of developing back and hip injuries and other musculoskeletal injuries, such as disc degeneration. You may have pain in your neck and lower back.

Flatback

Flatback syndrome may make it hard for you to stand up without pain in your thighs and pelvic area. You may also have neck and back pain.

Pain and fatigue can increase the longer you keep standing. Walking may also be difficult, giving you leg pain and a feeling of weakness.

A first step in correcting your posture is to become aware of everyday habits that may be affecting how you stand, sit, or lie down. In other words, pay attention and be mindful of what you are doing in your daily activities.

Sometimes the “cure” is simple:

  • Change the configuration of your work station.
  • Change your chair and the way you sit.
  • Change the position in which you look at your cell phone.
  • Buy a new mattress.

You can find some specific tips for avoiding or fixing tech neck here and here.

(Video) How to correct BAD POSTURE with EXERCISES by Dr. Andrea Furlan

Other general fixes include:

  • Instead of high heels, opt for flats, wedges, or other more supportive footwear.
  • Breathe more deeply.
  • Practice walking properly.

If your poor posture is bothersome or noticeably problematic, see a doctor or other healthcare professional to determine what’s causing the problem. They may diagnose an underlying condition that can be treated, such as osteoporosis or arthritis.

Stretching

They may also advise you to see a physical therapist. A physical therapist can help you develop a routine of stretches and exercises for strengthening the muscle groups that will help you stand or sit properly. Yoga may also help.

A physical therapist can check your posture and monitor whether you’re doing the exercises correctly.

There are many exercises and stretching routines that have proven helpful for posture and balance. You’re likely to find some that suit your schedule and ability.

Posture correctors

For some types of posture problems, your doctor or physical therapist may advise you to use a posture corrector appliance. For example, a posture brace and taping may help reduce hyperkyphosis. Or a shoe lift can help equalize your leg length to improve your gait and help you stand straighter.

Proper spine alignment, keeping your ears in line with the midline of your body, is the most efficient posture for conserving energy and not stressing any muscle groups.

But developing habits that lead to bad posture is easy, especially for people who sit at a computer all day or spend hours looking at a cell phone.

The aging process also can lead to bone loss and posture problems as you lose the capability of support in some muscle groups.

Bad postures all involve taking the spine out of its neutral alignment position. Having a forward head is a common bad posture. Others include swayback and flatback.

(Video) The benefits of good posture - Murat Dalkilinç

Most posture problems can be solved by stopping poor habits and starting stretching and strengthening exercises that target the support muscles that are weak.

FAQs

Can bad body posture be fixed? ›

Most posture problems can be solved by stopping poor habits and starting stretching and strengthening exercises that target the support muscles that are weak.

How long does it take to fix posture? ›

“But making a habit of good posture may take some time,” says Dr. Bang. As with any other exercise routine, it takes about four to six weeks to see real change.

What are the 5 postural deformities? ›

Common Postural Deformities, Causes and their Remedial Measures. Kyphosis, Lordosis, Scoliosis, Knock-knee, Bow legs and Flatfoot.

How can I straighten my neck? ›

Chin tucks are one of the key exercises recommended to help keep the head aligned above the spine. Stand with your upper back against a wall, feet shoulder-width apart. Face forward, tuck your chin down, and pull your head back until it meets the wall. Hold the stretch for 5 seconds before resting, and repeat 10 times.

What causes poor posture? ›

In summary the main causes of poor posture are changes in the shape of the spine due to poor nutrition, infections, and long term or repetitive mechanical or biomechanical factors, and in most cases it can be prevented and treated by good education about the process.

Can a chiropractor fix slouching? ›

A chiropractor can help you correct poor posture such as forward head translation or slouching and realign your spine to assure that the body is functioning optimally.

How do I know if my posture is correct? ›

It's simple: stand against a wall with about six inches of space between your heels and the wall. If you have good posture, your head, shoulders, and buttox will make contact with the wall, with about two inches of space between your lower back and your neck.

What kind of posture do I have? ›

Your ears should line up with the middle of your shoulder. Both your upper and lower back should be straight. Slight curves in the small of your back and at your shoulder blades are normal. Your hips need to be in good alignment with your shoulders and with your knees.

What are 4 characteristics of good posture? ›

Proper posture requirements:
  • Good muscle flexibility.
  • Normal motion in the joints.
  • Strong postural muscles.
  • A balance of muscles on both sides of the spine.
  • Awareness of your own posture, plus awareness of proper posture which leads to conscious correction.

How can I straighten my hunched back? ›

Fix Hunchback Posture While You Sleep (UPDATED) - YouTube

How can I fix my 5 posture exercises at home? ›

How To Correct Your Posture - 5 Home Exercises To Fix ... - YouTube

Does walking improve posture? ›

Walking is also an opportunity to work on concepts such as posture and core recruitment, as these are common areas in need of improvement for neck, shoulder and back pain. Proper posture is important to ensure that there is no undue pressure or tension being placed on your joints or muscles.

What are the symptoms of poor posture? ›

Symptoms of poor posture
  • Rounded shoulders.
  • Potbelly.
  • Bent knees when standing or walking.
  • Head that either leans forward or backward.
  • Back pain.
  • Body aches and pains.
  • Muscle fatigue.
  • Headache.

What are six most common posture problem? ›

B) Causes- Scoliosis, slouching, poor postural habits, inactivity, poor sleeping postures.

What is abnormal posture? ›

Definition. Abnormal posturing is different from "bad posture" or "slouching." Instead, it involves holding a body position, or moving one or more parts of the body in a certain way. Abnormal posturing may be a sign of certain injuries to the brain or spinal cord.

Which exercise should be used to cure postural deformity? ›

Perform Hal asana, Paschimotan asana and Vipritkarni asana regularly. Kyphosis definition- Kyphosis is a forward rounding of upper back. Some rounding is normal but the term "Kyphosis" usually refers to and exaggerated rounding, more than 50 degrees. This deformity is also called round back or hunch back.

What causes kyphosis? ›

Poor posture in childhood, such as slouching, leaning back in chairs and carrying heavy schoolbags, can cause the ligaments and muscles that support the vertebrae to stretch. This can pull the thoracic vertebrae out of their normal position, resulting in kyphosis.

Is it possible to fix rounded shoulders? ›

The good news is that, in most cases, rounded shoulders can be easily fixed or prevented. Just as the muscles and joints have been trained to hunch forward, they can be retrained to find the correct resting position.

Can forward neck posture be corrected? ›

The right exercises can improve your posture and correct forward head posture overtime. Perform several of the following exercises 2-3 times a day, 3-4 sets of each exercise: Tilt your head forward gently, touch your chin to your chest, hold for five seconds, then release.

What factors affect posture? ›

Several factors contribute to poor posture--most commonly, stress, obesity, pregnancy, weak postural muscles, abnormally tight muscles, and high-heeled shoes.

Can stress affect your posture? ›

When you're stressed, your breathing patterns change and cause strain and tension in the mid-back. Your shoulders hunch up and cause pain throughout the upper and middle back. Low-back pain includes the tailbone and lower half of the back muscles. These muscles affect flexibility and posture.

What is healthy posture? ›

Good posture is the proper alignment of your body when standing or sitting. Correct positioning involves training yourself to hold your body against gravity with the least strain and tension on supportive structures, such as your muscles and ligaments.

Who should I see to fix posture? ›

A chiropractor can help you with fixing bad posture by finding the underlying cause of your problems. By correcting the root of your bad posture, you can start sitting and standing up straight without having to constantly remind yourself.

Can you get a hunchback from slouching? ›

Poor posture with a forward bend can weaken your upper back muscles and create a hump at the base of your neck. This condition, which doctors call kyphosis, is more commonly known as dowager's hump. Find prevention, causes and treatment tips to potentially reverse this condition.

Can chiropractors straighten your back? ›

Get Straightened Out With a Chiropractic Treatment

Major Chiropractic can help straighten you out and get you back to the normal you.

Can a chiropractor fix posture? ›

A chiropractor can help you correct poor posture such as forward head translation or slouching and realign your spine to assure that the body is functioning optimally.

What are the symptoms of poor posture? ›

Symptoms of poor posture
  • Rounded shoulders.
  • Potbelly.
  • Bent knees when standing or walking.
  • Head that either leans forward or backward.
  • Back pain.
  • Body aches and pains.
  • Muscle fatigue.
  • Headache.

How do I fix the hump on my neck? ›

Wong shares six exercises that help get rid of the hump at the base of the neck. She recommends doing the stretches daily.
...
6 stretches and moves to help get rid of buffalo hump
  1. Shoulder rolls. ...
  2. Cat pose. ...
  3. Chin tucks. ...
  4. Chin-to-shoulder stretch. ...
  5. Head side-to-side stretch. ...
  6. Massage the area with a ball.
8 May 2022

Does good posture hurt at first? ›

Why Does It Hurt When I Try To Have Good Posture? - YouTube

Who should I see to fix posture? ›

A chiropractor can help you with fixing bad posture by finding the underlying cause of your problems. By correcting the root of your bad posture, you can start sitting and standing up straight without having to constantly remind yourself.

How do I get my body back in alignment? ›

How to Put Your Body Back Into Alignment : Standard Workouts

Does massage help posture? ›

Massage can relax and loosen the muscles made sore by bad posture, allowing your body to position itself in its natural-and pain-free-posture. With ongoing massage the muscles are loosened and relaxed-joints have greater freedom and pressure points are relieved.

What causes slouching? ›

Bad posture can come about by things like the day to day effects of gravity on our bodies. 1 Bad posture may also occur due to an injury, an illness, or because of genetics—issues that, for the most part, you can't control. A combination of these factors is also quite common.

Why do people have poor posture? ›

In summary the main causes of poor posture are changes in the shape of the spine due to poor nutrition, infections, and long term or repetitive mechanical or biomechanical factors, and in most cases it can be prevented and treated by good education about the process.

What is the difference between a dowager's hump and a buffalo hump? ›

What is the difference between a dowager's hump and a buffalo hump? Some people may refer to a buffalo hump as a “dowager's hump.” However, dowager's humps are due to kyphosis, which involves bone placement and posture. Buffalo humps are due to the development of a fat pad between the shoulder blades.

Can neck humps disappear? ›

Wilson cautions that a dowager's hump won't go away overnight. It can take a long time to correct itself — months even. And, if you wait too long, it's almost impossible to make it disappear completely. If you think you might have a dowager's hump, talk to your doctor about your therapy and treatment options.

How long does it take to get rid of neck hump? ›

I find that the younger you are, the faster you can get out of your comfort zone and back into good posture. However, it can take as long as three months to get back if you've been habitually slouching.

Is it better to sit up straight or slouch? ›

How exactly is 'slouching' better than an upright posture? A further study conducted by the University Hospital of North Tees found that slouching can reduce back stiffness by enabling more fluid to pass between our spinal disks. A study by the RNSA also found slouching to be better for us.

What muscles are used for good posture? ›

Individually, they are the spinalis, longissimus and iliocostalis, all working together to extend the spine. The multifidus muscles, a smaller group deep in the back, connect the vertebra. From the front of the body, the abdominal muscles are probably the most widely known of the postural muscles.

Videos

1. How To Fix Lower Back Posture
(Tone and Tighten)
2. Fix your posture with three exercises
(Freedom Physical Therapy Services)
3. YOU Have BAD Posture!!! (3 Signs and How To Fix Easily)
(Real Men Real Style)
4. Better Posture Hack
(Strength Side)
5. How To FIX Your Posture | 10-Minute Daily Routine
(Tone and Tighten)
6. 2 Ways To Check If You Have A Good Posture
(Back Intelligence)

Top Articles

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Kieth Sipes

Last Updated: 11/16/2022

Views: 6254

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (47 voted)

Reviews: 86% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Kieth Sipes

Birthday: 2001-04-14

Address: Suite 492 62479 Champlin Loop, South Catrice, MS 57271

Phone: +9663362133320

Job: District Sales Analyst

Hobby: Digital arts, Dance, Ghost hunting, Worldbuilding, Kayaking, Table tennis, 3D printing

Introduction: My name is Kieth Sipes, I am a zany, rich, courageous, powerful, faithful, jolly, excited person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.