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Stop the Damage: Overcome 12 Harmful Effects of Bad Posture

last updated August 6 0 comments

long-term effects of bad posture

Introduction

In our modern world, many of us spend far too much time sitting, standing, and moving with misalignments that wreak havoc on our bodies. The way we carry ourselves significantly affects our physical functions and psychological health. In this article, we're exploring twelve problematic, long-term effects of bad posture that you can overcome with improved alignment.

1. Spine Curvature

First up on our list is spine curvature. Hunching over a keyboard or slumping in front of the TV can lead to a misalignment of the spine. Our bodies adapt to the stimulus applied over time. Therefore, long bouts of rounding result in unnatural curves, causing discomfort and unnecessary strain on our muscles and ligaments. Good ergonomics can help, but the key to good posture and improved health and wellness is MOVING MORE!

long term effects of bad posture on spinal curve

2. Low Back Pain

The burden of poor posture often falls on the lower back. Some people get stuck in low back extension (lordosis), and others are fixed in flexion (flat back or reverse curve). The extension creates compression and damaging motions in the spine. Flexion, or slouching, strains the muscles and ligaments and throws off your nervous system, causing persistent lower back pain. These muscle imbalances tend to exacerbate health issues, turning small aches and minor discomfort into chronic problems. Researchers of 766 adolescents' standing postures concluded that a more neutral thoracic, lumbar, and pelvic posture are associated with less back pain.

3. Upper Back & Shoulder Pain

Ever noticed a nagging pain in your shoulders or upper back after a long day at the desk? That’s poor posture rearing its ugly head again. Slouching can force your upper back and shoulders to bear an unfair share of your body weight, leading to muscle fatigue and pain side effects.

side effects of bad posture include neck pain and headaches

4. Neck Pain & Headaches

Your neck isn't spared when your posture is out of alignment. Straining to look at a screen or bending your neck to look at a phone can cause tension headaches and chronic neck pain. And since the spine’s natural curves are designed to work harmoniously, neck pain and headaches often accompany upper back pain, shoulder pain, and lower back pain. Studies of office workers show the relationship between forward head posture and thoracic kyphosis to neck pain.

5. Increased Risk of Injuries

Beyond poor posture causing pain, it also increases the risk of musculoskeletal injuries. A lack of the spine’s natural curves weakens the ligaments that hold your joints together, making you more prone to sprains and strains. According to a study published in Spine, posture is a significant mechanical factor to consider when assessing for injuries in the lumbar spine. And the risk extends beyond your spine to other areas, as bad posture is like starting a movement in a hole.

side effects of bad posture include decreased mobility and increased risk of injuries

6. Decreased Mobility

Poor posture also limits mobility for many people as the body due to the inherent muscle imbalances. Excess muscle tension around joints leads to less range of motion, making it harder to perform daily activities and possibly leading to disability over time.

7. Poor Circulation

You unintentionally constrict your blood vessels when you slump or slouch or have poor postural alignment. This means poor circulation and decreased oxygen and nutrient delivery to your cells. Over time, these constrictions can result in varicose veins, spider veins, lymph flow issues, and cold or numbness in your hands or feet. At least one study showed the effects on peripheral blood flow with only slight changes in posture.

8. Reduced Lung Capacity and Breathing Difficulties

Poor posture, such as kyphosis and swayback, can restrict the expansion of the rib cage for the lungs and diaphragm, making breathing difficult and reducing lung capacity. These and other poor postures further lead to breathing difficulties, especially in people with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

9. Poor Sleep

Chronic discomfort from bad posture can disturb your sleep patterns, making it difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position and leading to poor sleep quality. A 2021 study showed that people with neck pain and stiffness in the morning spent most of their night in pain-provoking sleeping postures. Poor sleep quality also predicts new pain onset and aggravates current pain, creating a vicious cycle.

side effects of bad posture include digestive issues

10. Digestive Problems

Slouching and various posture types also negatively impact your digestion. Poor posture and the dysfunctional movement patterns that come with it compress your organs. Digestion and elimination processes then become affected, potentially leading to discomfort or symptoms such as acid reflux, constipation, bloating, and other digestive issues.

11. Decreased Energy Levels and Fatigue

Poor posture is also connected to decreased energy levels and fatigue. In combination with the negative effects on breathing and circulation, poor posture can make the body work harder to maintain balance and alignment. In addition, the discomfort from bad posture can also dampen your mood. Chronic pain, in turn, demands your attention and makes it more difficult to focus. This can also decrease motivation, negatively impacting your psychology.

negative effects of bad posture include low self-esteem and confidence

12. Negative Impact on Self-Esteem and Confidence

Last but not least, your posture can affect your self-esteem. Slouching can make you appear less confident, impacting not just how others perceive you but how you perceive yourself. Poor posture has shown that people may feel self-conscious about their appearance or that their low perception of body image impacts their ability to perform at their best. For more on this, we recommend Amy Cuddy’s New York Times Best-Selling book Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges.

Fixing the Issue: Posture Therapy to the Rescue

So, now that we understand the potential hazards of poor posture, how do we correct it? Enter posture therapy. Activ8 Posture's non-invasive approach addresses bad posture issues by realigning your body and teaching you healthier ways to sit, stand, and move.

postural therapy teamwork

Eliminate Pain with Posture Therapy - Successfully Deal with Chronic Pain

Activ8 Posture’s therapy program is designed to help improve your posture and address chronic pain issues. It blends posture alignment, movement coaching, and body awareness strategies to help you regain control over your body and health.

Get Started with Activ8 Posture

Ready to tackle the effects of poor posture head-on? Activ8 Posture is ready to help you on your journey. Book your first appointment at our Boston or Los Angeles clinics, or opt for virtual sessions from your home.

Book Your FREE Consultation & Posture Assessment Today!

Take a stand against the negative effects of bad posture today! The journey to better health begins with a single step.


FAQs

What are the long-term effects of bad posture?

The long-term effects of poor posture include chronic back, neck, and shoulder pain, spine curvature or misalignment, muscle fatigue, and joint degradation. A misaligned body can also lead to poor circulation, digestion, and sleep problems. Additionally, poor posture has been shown to impact your physiological health, decreasing motivation and self-esteem significantly.

What are the effects of bad posture when sitting?

Bad posture and musculoskeletal dysfunction lead to various issues related to sitting. Posture includes the positions we hold, like sitting and standing, and dynamic movements, like walking, lifting, etc. The side effects of bad posture when sitting can include lower back pain, neck strain, headaches, and shoulder tension, depending on how you set up your workstation and any poor posture patterns you're bringing to the chair. Slouching while sitting can also pressure your internal organs, disrupting breathing, digestion, and circulation.

What are the effects of bad posture?

It's important to maintain good posture as poor posture can have a range of negative impacts on your physical and psychological well-being. These can include chronic pain, spinal misalignment, a higher risk of injuries, circulatory and digestive issues, poor sleep, lack of motivation, and decreased confidence.

How long does it take to correct posture?

The time it takes to reverse the effects of bad posture can vary widely from person to person, depending on the severity of the posture issue, the individual's overall health, and the consistency with which they apply corrective measures. For many, improvements can be seen in the first appointment. However, the staying power of your posture can take a few weeks of dedicated posture exercises and individualized posture correction. Some stubborn chronic posture issues may take several months of consistent work.

How can I get started on fixing my bad posture?

Taking the first step towards correcting your posture is as easy as reaching out to a professional for guidance. Activ8 Posture offers a comprehensive posture therapy and movement coaching program to improve your posture and address related chronic pain issues. You can get started by booking your first appointment or a free consultation with us at our Boston or Los Angeles clinics, or do virtual sessions if that suits you better. Our experienced posture therapists would love to get to know you better. We'll listen to your story, assess your posture and movement patterns, identify problem areas, and create a tailored plan to help you on your journey to better posture and whole-body health.

Can you correct years of bad posture?

Yes, even if you've had bad posture for many years, it's never too late to make improvements. Engaging in targeted exercises, maintaining awareness of your posture, and possibly seeking the help of professionals like physical therapists or chiropractors can all contribute to postural correction. It may take time and consistent effort, but the changes can lead to reduced pain and improved quality of life.

Can bad posture do permanent damage?

Prolonged periods of poor posture can lead to structural changes in the spine and other parts of the body, potentially causing long-term issues such as chronic pain, reduced flexibility, and impaired function. However, many of these effects can be mitigated or even reversed with appropriate intervention and lifestyle changes. It's important to start addressing posture issues as soon as they're identified to minimize potential long-term damage.

What muscles are affected by poor posture?

Poor posture can affect numerous muscles throughout the body. Frequently, the muscles in the neck, shoulders, hips, and back are most directly impacted. Slouching, for example, can lead to chronic tension and weakness in the neck and upper back muscles. Sitting with a hunched back can cause the muscles around the spine to become weak, while the hip flexors and hamstrings can become tight from prolonged sitting. Over time, these muscle imbalances can contribute to pain, reduced mobility, and other health issues.

You CAN Change Your Posture!

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