Walking around with bad posture is unfortunately common nowadays. Especially with modern technology, most of us are accustomed to facing our desktops, laptops, tablets, or phones, making us more and more susceptible to developing a curved torso and unhealthy bearing.
Not all postures are the same. With every bad habit comes its own set of drawbacks so even if you have a group of people with poor posture but contrasting lifestyles, they could all have differing kinds of misalignments. To better understand the type of posture you carry and its corresponding disadvantages, we have put together a list of the 5 main types of posture below:
5 Main Types of Posture
- Healthy Posture
Starting off with the most ideal type but unfortunately the least attained, healthy posture means that your body is properly aligned when you stand – ears over shoulders, shoulders over hips, hips over ankles, you get the picture. It also means your body stays aligned when sitting – flat feet on the ground, activated core, upright shoulders, and weight evenly distributed on both sides.
Disadvantage: None! Enjoy multiple health benefits and positive disposition if you have a healthy posture.
One of the most common types of poor posture, kyphosis is when your upper back and shoulders are rounded forward, resulting in a greater curve than normal. Individuals with kyphosis usually appear to be slouching all the time and have a hunched back.
While it can be present at any age, it is most prevalent in older people as their bones start to weaken. It can also be present in office workers, women with heavier busts, obese people, those who are excessively tall, and cancer patients who use chemotherapy or radiation treatments.
Disadvantage: Constant back pain and stiffness around your torso. Rounded shoulders can also can shoulder aches that spread to your neck. Some report it is harder to walk and you have an increased risk of falls or injuries.
- Flat Back
The spine naturally curves to form an “S”; people living with flat back syndrome do not have the lower curve. Flat back syndrome greatly imbalances the spine and forces the person to constantly stoop forward. This type is sometimes caused by degenerative disc disease, vertebrae compression fracture, inflammatory arthritis, result of back surgery, or some others may even be born with it.
Disadvantage: You will have more trouble standing up and staying upright even if you are consciously making the effort to. This syndrome can also result in chronic back, pelvic, leg, and neck pain. Because of the pain and fatigue this posture brings, walking may also be difficult.
- Sway Back
Also known as lordosis or hyperlordosis, sway back syndrome is when your poor posture ends up exaggerating the natural curves of your spine. This results in your hips and pelvis tilting forward past your midline, making you look like you are sticking out both your stomach and rear Your shoulders also start to settle further at the back and your head starts to tilt forward. All of this combined causing great strain on your lower back.
There are many factors that can result to sway back syndrome such as osteoporosis, kyphosis, obesity, pregnancy, wearing high heels too often, working as a truck driver, and sleeping on your stomach.
Disadvantage: This type of posture causes constant back pain and discomfort throughout your torso. It can also make it difficult to freely move around. Living with sway back increases the probability of back and hip injuries, and degenerative disc disease.
- Forward Head
Now commonly dubbed as “tech neck”, this type of poor posture sees the neck and head pushing forward, unhealthily extending past the shoulders. It is due to constantly hunching over gadgets all day, making your neck accustomed to tilting ahead.
Every inch you allow your head to fall forth, more and more stress is added on your neck and spine. This tightens the muscles and ligaments that support your neck, and decreases mobility of your mid-spine, which eventually declines respiratory function. Letting it get to this point can greatly affect your health.
Disadvantage: Constant tension, stiffness, migraines, and aches around the back, shoulders, and neck areas. It is also associated with a higher mortality rate in senior citizens.
Other types of posture
Now that we have covered the 5 main types of posture, there are 3 more that we want to speak with you about. They may be less common but are present enough that you should be aware of them.
- Poking Chin
This is connected to the “Tech neck” posture and can be caused by sitting on a chair that is situated too low while leaning forward to read your screen. This can also develop if your screen is too high and you will need to constantly poke your chin forward to properly see, thus the name
You can prevent this by making sure your screen is at eye level, and you are sitting with both feet flat on the ground, back upright, and weight evenly distributed across your hips.
- Uneven Shoulders / Hips
Sometimes misalignment of the spine can cause one leg to be longer than the other. Other times, it is a birth defect. Either way, this causes you to tilt to one side as you stand in order to compensate, thus affecting your gait.
- Military Posture
When we think of the military, we do not automatically connect them to bad posture. But with closer inspection, their usual stance wherein their backs are rigidly straight and their chests are thrust forward is actually unhealthy for the spinal curve.
How to correct your posture
Found any of these familiar? If you fall under any of the unhealthy posture types, or are unsure which is more relevant in your situation, here is a quick guideline on checking and correcting your posture.
Tip #1: Check your posture by taking a wall test. Follow our easy guide here.
Tip #2: Upgrade your workstation. Make sure your desk is leveled properly, your desktop or laptop screen is parallel to your eyes, and your chair is at the right height. It is also best to get a chair that supports the spine’s natural curve.
Tip #3: Consciously look at your mobile phone. It has become such a no-brainer habit that we barely notice our necks tilting when we are on our phones. Make a habit out of fixing the screen parallel to your eyes while keeping your neck and back straight.
Tip #4: Make sure your mattress is not too firm or not too soft. The pressure on your spine should be just enough to support the natural curve. Also, as much as possible, sleep on your back or side – not your stomach.
Tip #5: Limit the use of high heels. Wearing high heels can further deteriorate your spinal alignment. It is best to opt for flats, wedges, and other footwear that is shown to help support the spine.
Tip #6: Wear a posture corrector. Regularly wearing a brace can greatly aid in developing healthy habits and keep you upright. Here are our 4 most recommended correctors: