Does Bad Posture Have Long-Term Effects?

Many of us are guilty of it: having bad posture while sitting at our desks during work, or even just in general as we move throughout our daily routines. It can feel uncomfortable to sit or stand up as straight as you're supposed to, but if you don't try to correct your bad posture, it could have long term negative effects on your body.

"Most postural issues (excluding birth abnormalities), occur because of repetitive stress or movements that we make over and over again, which over time, tighten specific muscles and overstretch others," says Dr. Keren Day, DC., of Eleven Eleven Wellness Center." As these muscles tug and pull on our bones and tendons, they can create changes over time. The longer the stress goes unaddressed, the more difficult it is to reverse or change."

So, what can you do to fix it? Dr. Day says there are a few aspects to look at that can help change these negative effects: 

1. Be mindful of your daily ergonomics (how you sit at your desk, use your phone and sleep in your bed).

2. When thinking about the movements or positions you hold on a regular basis, try to allow for a more neutral position. For example, when texting, are you looking down? If so, try holding your phone up a little higher to alleviate stress on your neck and shoulders. Are you a belly sleeper? If so, think about how many hours your head is held in a rotated position. This sleeping pattern can cause changes in the neck, shoulders, lower back and hip. Try sleeping on your back with a pillow propping your knees up, or on your side with a body pillow between your legs.

3. Regarding exercise, try to include daily/weekly routines that will help strengthen your postural muscles, such as Pilates.

Dr. Day says you also may want to consider adding professional bodywork to your health regimen. "A professional can help you release physical tightness and stress to keep your body properly aligned. A few very effective treatments are Active Release Techniques (ART), chiropractic care, orthopedic massage, and acupuncture."