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4 Dangerous Posture Types
Do you often find yourself hunched over your laptop, or slumped down in your chair? When you stand, are your shoulders below your ears, or do you have a tendency to lean forward?
Being mindful of your posture is essential to good health.
Our spines have three natural curves:
- At the neck (cervical curve)
- At the upper back (thoracic curve)
- At the lower back (lumbar curve)
When our backs are healthy, these curves are “neutral.” When these curves deviate from a neutral position, that’s what’s considered unhealthy posture.
There are four most common types of standing posture that deviate from a neutral spine. Sometimes we’re born with exaggerated curves in the spine, and other times what we do for work or how we sit when we’re relaxing can aggravate these curves.
Instead of waving off your slouching habit, if you can identify the specific way bad posture can over time affect your spine, it’s both easier to feel the urgency for correction and to target the problem with specific exercises.
So here they are, the four most common types of “bad” posture:
#1 Kyphosis Posture
Kyphosis posture is what most of us think of when we think of someone with bad posture: rounded shoulders and a hunched over appearance. Anatomically, this type of posture hyperextends your cervical spine (your neck is strained forward), and it compresses your chest, making it harder to breathe. Kyphosis posture is quite common, especially as our bodies degenerate over time and our muscles weaken. It’s also very common in office workers and very tall people.
#2 Lordosis Posture
People with lordosis posture have an excessive inward curve in the lower back, which pushes out the stomach and the head while the bottom sticks out. Lordosis is often associated with an increased pelvic tilt and is sometimes called hollow or saddle back. Truck drivers and pregnant women are more susceptible to this type of posture.
#3 Sway Back
A more extreme type of lordosis, sway back is also common in pregnant women, as well as people who are overweight or otherwise carry their weight in their abdominal region. In sway back posture the pelvis is pushed forward past the center of gravity. This causes the head to poke out ahead of the body and the upper back to curve forward. Being out of alignment in this way causes the chest to sink and the shoulders to protract.
#4 Flat Back
Instead of exaggerated curves, flat back posture is when the spine doesn’t curve enough. This usually means the pelvis is tucked in, causing you to stoop forward. People with flat back find it difficult to stand for long periods and can experience leg and back pain. Injuries and some diseases can cause flat back posture.
Very few people have “ideal posture” all the time. We may dip in and out of rounding our shoulders or sticking out our pelvis.
But, if you recognize yourself in any of these descriptions, don’t wait to begin working on ways to amend how you stand. The consequences of any of these postures on your body are long-lasting and dangerous.
The best thing to do is to talk to a medical professional about charting a course of posture correction. Still, there are small things you can do every day to help improve your posture.
Exercise, taking movement breaks from sitting, and making sure your work setup is ergonomic are the most important.
When you do sit, make sure you’re sitting in a healthy chair.