Bad posture can stem from a number of sources. Whether it’s genetic, caused by an injury, or just an enduring bad habit, having a bad posture can cause long-term damage to your muscles. It can cause pain in your neck, back, shoulders, and chest, and can be very hard to correct if left for too long.
One of the main sources of bad posture in our modern society is an office job, or realistically any job that involves sitting in front of a computer all day. Our bodies aren’t designed to stay sat down all day, and doing so can lead to injuries and localized pain. While many people just manage the pain, few people look to treat the source of the issue. Luckily, posture correctors were invented for this very purpose.
What Causes Bad Posture?
There are numerous causes of bad posture, such as hunching over a desk or injury, but they all cause the same general symptoms. Bad posture is caused by different groups of muscles tightening or shortening, and others lengthening and weakening.
Which muscle groups these are depends on how your posture is affected, but they are usually localized to your shoulders, neck, and upper back and chest.
Bad posture can present either as hunched shoulders and your head pushed forwards, or curving of the spine that causes your stomach to stick out. Having poor posture can also affect your hips, legs, and feet, all caused by your back being out of alignment.
The human body is surprisingly susceptible to problems like this, but our bodies weren’t designed in the most efficient way for standing upright. This is why it’s very common for people to have back, hip, and knee problems.
One of the most common causes of bad posture is repeated motion or remaining in the same position for too long without breaks. This is why it commonly affects office workers, as they are sat at a desk all day, but it can also affect people such as lorry or taxi drivers.
A short-term remedy if you sit at a desk all day is to take as many breaks as possible, and get up and walk around. If this isn’t an option, at the very least stand up and stretch your shoulders and back.
What Are The Risks Of Bad Posture?
Aside from localized and persistent pain, there are several other risks associated with having bad posture, including:
- Your lungs might not function properly. Being slumped over all the time will mean that your lungs can’t expand completely, and so you’ll have a restricted amount of oxygen entering your blood. With correct posture, your chest muscles can work properly, allowing your lungs to expand fully.
- Increased chance of injury. Although it might not be immediately obvious, having bad posture can increase your risk of further injury. If your body is already tense and not in the correct position, any sudden movements could lead to you pulling a muscle, or something considerably worse.
- Bad posture becomes normalized. If you don’t treat your bad posture, it’ll eventually feel normal and you won’t notice the discomfort as much. This can become a vicious cycle, as the less you notice it, the more chance you have of slumping further. It becomes harder to correct because your muscles get used to being in that position, and you have to fight against muscle memory.
What Is A Posture Corrector?
A posture corrector, unsurprisingly, is a device that is designed to fix your bad posture. There are several different types available, but they all work on the same basic premise. You wear them like a brace or vest, and they redistribute the pressure on your back and shoulders, gently pushing you back into a correct posture.
The right sort of model for you will depend on the source of your pain, and the biggest problem areas for your posture. They will mostly have some sort of waistband and shoulder straps, very much like a harness, and pull your shoulders back and out.
This in turn is meant to straighten your back and teach your body how to hold itself. There are different versions for men and women, each designed to fit the correct body type.
A posture corrector works by undoing your muscle memory, and forcing your muscles to learn the correct placement for good posture. This will help short muscles to grow longer, and long muscles to eventually shrink back to the correct size.
How long this takes depends on the severity of your condition, but it’s never going to be a short-term solution. In the same way as training at the gym is a long-term goal; you’ll need to be patient with your muscles as they learn their place again.
How Do You Wear A Posture Corrector?
All the best posture correction devices will sit across your back between your shoulder blades, and some will also feature a waistband. Whether you need the waistband will depend on the source of your bad posture, but this is something you’ll know for yourself. All good posture correctors will be:
- You’ll notice it to begin with, but you should get used to the feeling of wearing it. It shouldn’t be a nuisance when you’re wearing it, and you should be able to keep it on all day.
- You should be able to continue about your day as normal while wearing a posture corrector. You should still be able to sit comfortably, exercise, or anything else you need to do.
- Minimal effort to wear. A good posture corrector will require very minimal effort on your part, and should do all of the hard work for you. You shouldn’t have to pull your shoulders back into position, or straighten your back.
- Rebuilding muscle. One of the biggest problems with bad posture is your muscles getting used to being in a bad position. A good posture corrector will help to build up muscle strength while also putting everything back into alignment.
Do Posture Correctors Really Work?
The short answer is yes. However, their effectiveness will depend entirely on your ability to correct the causes of your bad posture, rather than just wearing the device. Also, the length of time you have to wear the device will depend on the severity of your condition, and the speed at which your muscles become realigned.
A good posture corrector will not only straighten your back, but also allow your muscles to gain strength again, meaning you shouldn’t need to war the brace forever.
How long you wear a posture corrector for is completely up to you. Some people see results wearing it for as little as 10 minutes a day, whereas others will wear it for 30 minutes, or even all day. It’s best to start with short daily bursts rather than jumping in at the deep end.
This could cause your muscles to spasm due to the drastic change in position. It’s always better to start small and build up, but you’ll know what will work best for your body. If your condition is really bad, you might need to wear it for a long time. Also, if symptoms persist, it can be worth visiting a doctor.
Along with wearing a posture corrector, it’s worth considering some of the following lifestyle changes:
- This doesn’t mean having to join a gym and become a health nut; it can be as simple as performing stretches to keep your muscles supple. A great way of controlling your posture while keeping yourself flexible is to do yoga. You don’t even need to join a class, as there are loads of great tutorials online.
- Buy some ergonomic devices. If you have a desk job, consider getting a chair with extra lumbar support. This will treat the issue at its source, and stop you from slouching over your desk all day. You can also buy some great ergonomic computer accessories that will reduce your risk of RSI, and help your overall posture at your desk.
- Become aware of your posture. Once you’ve sorted out your posture using a posture corrector, learn how you should be standing and sitting. Make a conscious effort to look at yourself in the mirror, and see where your shoulders should be. Memorizing a good posture will help you consciously avoid falling back into bad habits.
- Make a habit of it. Just how bad posture comes from bad habits, good posture comes from good habits. Constantly assess how you’re sitting and standing, and correct yourself if necessary.
Bad posture is all too common now as so many people work desk jobs. Obviously, these are not the only people affected, but they are certainly one of the most common groups suffering from bad posture.
A posture corrector is a great tool for getting your back into correct alignment, and will help to alleviate tension and pain associated with stiff muscles. Just remember, patience is key when using a posture corrector, and it may take some time.