I have REALLY poor posture…. PLEASE HELP

I dont know why, but it’s so bad. My back is in constant pain. Any ideas on things I can do to fix this?

Answer:

First step is going to be core strengthening. The stronger your core, the better your body can support your back without stress.

Next, start stretching your pectoral muscles, and strengthening the muscles in your back by the shoulder blades. To lengthen your pectoral muscles (these are the ones that connect from your chest to your shoulder) try door way stretches (google for a picture reference if you haven’t heard of them), or if you have access to a stretchy exercise band you can hold it in front of you with your palms facing your body and your thumbs pointing outward, elbows bent so that your arms create a “w” shape and pull the band outward while flexing the muscles by your shoulder blades.

Work on the butt. If your glutes aren’t strong, it can throw off your hips and gait and mess up your whole body. Try squats and butterfly stretches.

Overall I highly recommend yoga. Lots of the stretches emphasize posture and strengthen the necessary muscles as listed above. Plus it’s very relaxing! It’s been a huge help for me in improving my posture. Hope this wall of text is helpful to you!

 

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  1. I have this problem, as does my mother and her mother. We all have poor posture and a “hump back” as it were. I’ve been to physical therapy for it and I’ll share what I learned from that experience.

    First step is going to be core strengthening. The stronger your core, the better your body can support your back without stress.

    Next, start stretching your pectoral muscles, and strengthening the muscles in your back by the shoulder blades. To lengthen your pectoral muscles (these are the ones that connect from your chest to your shoulder) try door way stretches (google for a picture reference if you haven’t heard of them), or if you have access to a stretchy exercise band you can hold it in front of you with your palms facing your body and your thumbs pointing outward, elbows bent so that your arms create a “w” shape and pull the band outward while flexing the muscles by your shoulder blades.

    Work on the butt. If your glutes aren’t strong, it can throw off your hips and gait and mess up your whole body. Try squats and butterfly stretches.

    Overall I highly recommend yoga. Lots of the stretches emphasize posture and strengthen the necessary muscles as listed above. Plus it’s very relaxing! It’s been a huge help for me in improving my posture. Hope this wall of text is helpful to you!

  2. Ur core man. It’s all about the core. You should be engaging it at pretty much all waking hours of the day. Bending over, sitting up straight, walking, standing up straight. All of these will become easier and less painful by trying to touch your belly button to your spine. Overall strength and good posture starts with core strength.

  3. Also if you smoke, or are over weight those could contribute. If you sit at a desk all day stand up every 30 mins to an hour of sitting and walk to the bathroom, break-room etc.

  4. My chiropractor told me once to make sure everything in front of you is at eye level so you aren’t bending over. If you sit at a computer, raise the computer to be at eye level. If you play games or read on your phone, hold it up to eye level. You’d be amazed what a difference it makes when you’re not constantly holding your head down.

  5. Go to any gym and get on the rowing machine. Youtube proper form first. It’ll strengthen muscles in your shoulders, back, and core to almost force you to stand and sit up straight. But seriously, don’t fuck up your life with bad hips, knees and and feet due to poor posture. Not to mention GERD. I was absolutely miserable before I started rowing in my workout. I don’t know if it’s related, but I have far fewer headaches now as well.

  6. Go to a chiropractor. Even if you have shitty insurance, like me, my chiro is $110 for the first appointment and $60 there after. With decent insurance, it may even be less.

    Give it 5-8 appointments. Either there will be an improvement, or it’s something more serious. Back issues can be debilitating physically and mentally. It’s worth a $300-$500 investment.

    Stretching and yoga are great and will help, but if your back needs to be adjusted, they won’t solve the core issue.

  7. If you spend a lot of time driving in the car, firstly make sure your seat is well positioned (and invest in a lumbar cushion or rolled up towel for your lower back if you find you’re hunched in the seat), but then, sit up really straight and tall and adjust your mirrors from that position. That way, every time you check your mirrors /rear view, you will sit up straight to see them properly. It’s good trick to keep you readjusting constantly so you don’t slouch too much.

  8. Lay on a yoga ball, belly up and arms out to stretch out that back. Also putting a piece of tape between your shoulder blades, every time you slouch, the skin will pull so it’s a good reminder

  9. Deadlift and Face pulls with core training will dolve your muscular problem. But you see, you can have big mjscles and shitty posture.

    Good posture is a mindset.

  10. As already mentioned, strengthening your core and back is probably your best bet.

    Here are some good simple core workouts (from a Mountain Biking channel) that ive been using.

    Also this one from a road biking channel

  11. Aside from all the stuff posted here, whenever you stand, try to stand as tall as you possibly can without standing on your toes.

    It’ll hurt for some time probably but eventually your posture will get better.

  12. I am not a medical professional, always seek professional advice but…

    My newest physical therapist told me something no other pt has told me (out of the 15 I’ve seen in my 29 years) your glutes should be considered as part of your core muscles, strong glutes can help hold your spine in a neutral position.

    Try this out in any position just squeeze your glutes (if your sitting you will actually raise up a few inches) while holding your glutes contract your lower abs then you upper abs I usually hold this for about 10 seconds then relax a few seconds and repeat.

    I have been doing this all through out the day for a month now and I can notice a difference in my back pain a little (mind you I have a defect in my spine that needs surgery so nothing is gonna be life changing for me) I must look really funny popping up and down a few inches when I do this on the bus.
    Also when walking I try to remember to beep my abs tightened, it hard to keep your glutes contracted while walking.

  13. I was in the same position you are in right now, and I have to urge that you see a chiropractor. I thought it was just aches and pains in my back, but it turned out my spin was rotating to compensate for my poor posture. You should really get yourself checked out by a professional, so you don’t hurt yourself any further!

  14. Pilates worked wonders for me. If you can find a class taught by someone with medical training (my instructor was also a physiotherapist) then all the better.

    I preferred Pilates to yoga because it was very focused on medicine, using muscle names and explanations that worked better for me than the spiritual/hippy kind of language used in yoga.

  15. Everyone is raving about core strength, which I think is great, but I think an even bigger factor in posture is your back muscles. Your back muscles are what pull your shoulders back and your chest out. Sitting at a computer all day can often lead to weak back muscles, since when you’re slouching forward your back is fully relaxed and the muscles aren’t engaged. Over a long period of time your body will adapt to this posture.

    If you can do pull ups, get a pull up bar that fits in a doorframe. Other than that, make a conscious effort to notice when your posture is bad and try to correct it throughout the day. You’ve gotta both strengthen your back and retrain your mind to get in the habit of sitting upright without thinking.

  16. Next time you’re at the doctor, ask them for some advice. They know your medical history and see you in person. They can check for any common problems that may be influencing your posture. **Please check with your doctor!** The internet (myself included) loves to give advice, but we don’t know you well enough to give medical advice without the huge caveat that I’ve just babbled here.

    Some general advice, besides strengthening your core (which has been mentioned a few times) is to try to be more aware of how you’re sitting. Any time you notice that you’re slouched or hunched over your desk, force yourself to sit up straight. Even leaning back (with some lower back support) will help, if you find sitting up-up tiring.

    For me, staying active with dance really helps correct my posture. I just notice it more. My posture outside of dancing isn’t perfect, and I get that “dancer posture” thing going the second I step into the studio, but it’s strengthened my core and made me more aware of what my back is doing in general.

    That said, I’m one of those people that have trouble maintaining without outside pressure. So I tend to regress a little if I don’t have dance class. Something I need to work on.

  17. See a doctor. You dont know whats causing your poor posture and you dont know if the posture is what is causing your pain. This thread is full of people who are trying to relate their problems to yours. There are sooo many different back problems out there.

    A doctor will be able to help you pinpoint the issue and then fixing it will be much more realistic

  18. posture is held by bones and not muscles. If you try hard enough to keep a good posture eventually you will fatigue your muscles and start having discomfort and pain. What you should start doing is first to avoid actions that put you in a bad posture like using your phone with a flexed neck, slouch on chair or sofa,…

    Furthermore you can start by building up your muscles by selecting few effective exercises that would sustain your posture throughout the day: core muscles exercises and wall angel exercises. This would bring new strength to your muscles and they would sustain more your posture as the day goes along and over time they would help to build a muscle and posture memory

  19. I got one of those cheap elastic type posture braces off of ebay. It doesn’t forcibly hold your shoulders back but has just enough tension to remind you to do it on your own.

    If you have an underlying medical issue that’s causing it though I don’t know how much good it will do.

  20. Ball your hands into fists, put your knuckles on your sides (right above the top of your hipbone, push your hands together and rotate them to push upwards.

    Hold that for 10+ seconds at a time and then rotate back down. Do that at least 5-10 times a day.

  21. This is gonna sound dumb but I used to have absolutely horrendous posture and back pain, one day my old man snapped at me and ordered me to stand up straight like I was proud of myself classic old man stuff blah blah blah. But I was like well shit okay and ever since that day I’ve just tried to stand up straight as possible with my chest out and shoulders back, my back problems have diminished greatly since then.

  22. What do you do in your daily life that may contribute?
    In your free time, are you slouched over a computer playing games?
    If so, adjust your screen height so that you’re not looking down.
    If you can’t touch-type (type without looking at the keys – Learn it. This will stop you looking downwards when you answer forum posts.
    There are ‘Posture’ chairs you can get, but they are uncomfortable and expensive.

    The classic ‘catwalk models’ trope is to balance a book on your head when you are walking around the house. This keeps you looking forward, which will push your chest forward, and start to line everything up.
    Amazingly, having better posture will even make you look slimmer. If you are hunched over, all your bits get squeezed into the middle of your body, then outwards. If you are head up, shoulders back it pulls it all in a bit.

    That being said, I am a random person on the internet. The pro you are looking for would be a physiotherapist – Take their advice over anyone on here, especially as they can check out how your body moves. Also, if the back pain is something more serious, they can diagnose and refer you. Please get this looked at – having a bad back when you are older is literally torture.

    ::EDIT::
    Link from the NHS UK website:
    http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Backpain/Pages/back-pain-and-common-posture-mistakes.aspx

  23. Look up some calisthenics (own body weight work out). Not gonna lie, it’s hard work but when you get into its both fun and addicting, and does wonders on both your back and core. Spent the better part of 5 years in my computer chair which of course led to horrendous posture and constant back pain. Now it’s all pretty much gone, great posture and I’m fitter than ever after just a year!

  24. I’ve been a personal trainer for over 22 years as well as a gym owner. I specialize in physical/restorative training. It sounds from your description like you have Kyphosis, though a few pictures would be helpful in making that determination. To remedy it, you will need to strengthen the core, as some have suggested already, you’ll need to lengthen your gluteals and hip flexor muscles, and you’ll also have to lengthen your hamstring muscles. It’s not an overnight fix either, so you’ll have to keep plugging away at it consistently.

  25. Every little modification to your life helps. I use a foam roller daily to help loosen the back muscles.. I stretch my chest muscles out everyday.. I also wear a brace from time to time to achieve the proper posture. Bad posture is only a muscle tightness imbalance. Once you fix that you will have good posture again. Check out https://thenaturalposture.com/ for some tips, products to help with posture.

  26. Pilates is great for this. Yoga too. Definitely with a qualified instructor. Probably would be good to have some individual sessions for the added attention to avoid further injury.

  27. Imagine you have a helium balloon attached th the top of the head and it’s always pulling you up straight. Also spread your legs with your back to a wall and bend your knees and do kind of squats making sure your knees don’t turn to the side.

  28. Chiropractor man; dude saved my Nana, my mom, and I. Just remember they don’t do miracle work and don’t fix your problem after your first meeting, it’s about getting your body to the position it should be in.

  29. If you don’t want to go the chiropractor route or yoga or back exercises that you’ll forget to do after a week, try out the Better Back. It was a Kickstarter project that you can now find on Amazon: BetterBack – Correct Back Posture While Sitting, Featured on Shark Tank, Doctor Recommended (Back Support Belt) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0167NBDYU/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_E5bUyb25F3GGG

    I keep it in my work chair and put it on almost daily. It forces me to sit up straight but not in an uncomfortable way at all. Now I find myself actually sitting straight up when I’m not using it.

  30. Besides yoga and stretching, and investigating all the places you sit and stand at, have you checked your mattress and pillows? I had some pillows that were cheap and I always got cricks in my neck. Finally spent some money on feather/down pillows and I’m all good now.

    Please, stretch at wakeup and just before you go to bed. In the shower too, make a minute for it, since all that warm water is there.

  31. Just fyi, i never went to the chiropractor cause i thought i couldn’t afford it so i dealt with the pain. Finally injured myself and couldn’t even get out of bed. I went to the the doctor. The first visit was 120 cause of xrays but it’s just 30 bucks to be seen by the doc. So every 2-3 weeks i get adjusted and my back doesn’t hurt anymore. Not expensive at all when it comes to the lack of pain.

  32. Yoga. Yoga has helped me recover from many mild injuries, along with lengthening and aligning my body.. Upward facing dog, and half cobra pose can get you started. Remember to take long deep breaths into the places of resistance- it will deepen your practice and speed up the process. Yoga.com is a great source for information and poses. Doyogawithme.com has free videos and also does youtube.

    Also strengthtraining .-.

  33. I also had terrible posture, back pain and knee pain. Started fixing it Jan’16. My family noticed the improvements in 3 months. In the summer, I was randomly complimented for my posture in public events. Solved my back pain and knee pain.

    I focused on what others have mentioned:

    * extend your chest and hip,
    * strengthen your back, butt and core,
    * correct hip tilt.

    To achieve that, I combined several resources every day, forever:

    1. The video /u/skepachino posted, followed by a similar number of shoulder rolling forward and backward, plus pectoral stretch.

    2. Youtube Goodman’s lower back foundation training. It took me a month to be able to finish the 11 minutes video, despite being in good general condition, I had no back strength.

    3. Google t-nation’s “Neaderthal no more” program. Contains some lengthy explanations at the first pages, then you have a routine to do at home, and another one for the days you go to the gym for 2 months. Then you have a new gym program, and I kept doing the home plan on my days off the gym.

    4. Increase the bridges exercise in the program from 25 reps to 300 reps (I do them in 3 series). Add a couple of minutes daily of intense quads extension. Increase your hip extension with this exercise, 3 minutes per side the days off the gym, I do it dynamically, swinging fom side to side: https://www.t-nation.com/img/photos/2011/11-697-01/knee-stretches.jpg

    5. When walking, remember to press your glutes, rise the front hip and the top of the chest, retract a bit your shoulders and keep your head in good position (some links from others can help you with that, like Cavalier’s).

    After almost a year I started to add other exercises for muscles that are purposefully neglected in the Neanderthal program, since they worsen your posture, so now I exercise my whole body. Also, after 2 years I have now started to run again, but instead of long distance I do 5 short HIIT.

  34. If you’re like me and sit in front of a computer all day, adjust your chair PERFECTLY.

    * Never let it free tilt (like in a rocking chair).

    That puts constant strain on your back and you generally end up rocking back an hunching forward, making it worse. Rock it back ever so slightly so your butt is in like a valley and forcing your back straight

    * Get a high back chair (with head rest)

    2-300$ is cheap to get a comfortable chair whit a high back and lombar support compared to a chiropractor

    * Get the fuck up every hour

    Walk around, go get a sip of water, what ever. But DO NOT stay sit down longer then an hour at a time. Stretch.

    * Get something to put your feet up on

    Seriously simple advice but does in the difference in the world. It bends your knees and makes it easier to sit correctly

  35. When you’re sitting at a desk, make sure to tuck the chair in as much as you can such that you’re kinda squished between the chair and the desk.

    This creates a confined space where your body will straighten itself to get comfortable. Then you just need to make sure you keep your head up instead of letting it slump.

  36. Get a foam roller… Lye on the floor and roll up and down your rib cage (on your back). Place the foam roller virtually along your spine and lay there for minute. Do these twice a day. It should help. It’s helped me

  37. The REAL LPT: See a doctor. If you have a family doctor go and ask for help. If they don’t ask for an X-ray or they don’t send you to a specialist who asks for an X-ray, change your family doctor.

  38. …. everyone is being really fancy and smart. I was going to suggest a LUMO lift to get started. It buzzes you at your desired settings when you get out of alignment. It really helped me in the beginning with being mindful of my posture, especially sitting.

  39. Don’t ask for posture advice from a bunch of people on the internet who can’t even see what the problem is. I’ve struggled with postural problems all my life and I spent a lot of time trying to diagnose myself and pursuing various solutions that went nowhere or made things worse.

    Go talk to a specialist. I finally started seeing a physiotherapist who has helped me enormously. Talk to an expert who can help you.

  40. Go to a physical therapist. If your posture is bad enough, the joints in your spine might be stiff enough that you *cant* stand up straight. A PT can improve any limited mobility and will also show you some important but fiddly exercises you won’t get here.

    You might need to talk to your doctor to get a referral to PT, depending on your country of residence / insurance coverage.

  41. Most insurances cover chiropractic, I’m fairly recent assistant and a patient and I feel so much better, it really is worth at least a try and see and feel the difference.

  42. I was like you. Get some massage therapy asap. 45 minute sessions, twice a week if you can handle it because it hurts like bloody murder. then, go work out focusing on light to medium lower, middle back exercises. my pinched nerve has never came back.

  43. I second all of the advice relating to stretching.

    Try to change your habits. Every time your shoulder or back aches – sit up and hold it. See how long it is before you slouch again, then correct it.

    Ask your family and friends to remind you to sit up straight when they see you slouching. It will ache but will get easier over time.

    Avoid looking down at a phone or tablet for long periods. Raise screen height for all devices.

    Lie flat on the floor (no pillow) occasionally to straighten the spine.

    Keep at the exercise – you can fix this pretty quickly if you are consistent.

  44. Poor posture is the result of bad habit (or the result of a medical condition). If you’re confident that it isn’t a medical condition, then you know what to do. Stop being lazy about how you sit and stand. It is a matter of mental discipline. You will have to find some way of reminding yourself to stand tall, sit up straight, suck in your gut, etc. Maybe set an hourly appointment on your phone. Also proper diet and exercise, especially abs/core related exercise.

    Google for posture: how to sit and how to stand. Google for exercises. Do it now before it develops into a medical condition.

  45. Not sure if you’re a female — or if you’re a male if you would be comfortable wearing something like this — but I purchased a waist trainer on a whim awhile back. Definitely didn’t do anything for my waist, but I didn’t even notice how horrible my posture was before wearing one! It eased back pain that I didn’t even realize I had. They force you to sit up and stand straight.

    I wear it under my clothes at work a couple times a week since I have a desk job. It improves my form a lot when I wear it to the gym as well. They can be a little uncomfortable at first, but as long as you get one that is properly sized they aren’t even noticeable once you get used to it.

  46. If you have the means, see a Physical Therapist or doctor. Seriously, there’s no easy “hack” or quick fix here. The answer is going to be PT and exercise. 15-30 minutes per day.

    Also, check your bed. These new foam mattresses are cheap and pretty good. I have a Casper and I really like it, less back pain in the morning.

  47. I bought a posture & step tracker called a “Lumo Lift.” It attaches to your shirt via magnets, and then it will “buzz” you every time you slouch. Nags you to stand/sit upright.

    I found it annoying, but it does help if you stick with it.

  48. Yeah man kind of already mentioned bellow but strength training did it for me. I really let my back muscles develop and grow with tons of squats and deadlifts and a bit of pull ups. It helps a ton to be fit and strong.

  49. This seems out-there, but if you’ve had any interest in taking up learning an instrument (and for real practicing) it may help. I get comments on my good posture all the time, and it’s only as a result of hours of needing to sit up straight with rehearsing. You really can’t have good technique without proper posture. Just my two cents.

  50. Some have already said it, but yoga is incredible. Try the Yogazone videos by Alan Finger (you can find some on YouTube). They are short, most are easy and they are incredibly effective. They can be done in a small space and are quite cheap.

    I used these in conjunction with a physiotherapist. She identified some problems and advised me not to do any exercises that involved bending forward or rolling forward/hunching my back, so I avoided them. You may have the opposite problem so may have to avoid back bends. Either way, that sort of advice combined with the yoga could be very helpful to you. Yoga is also very enjoyable (I never got the advanced stuff, too lazy) and you can feel your muscles changing and stretching. It calms you and helps breathing too. Amazing stuff!

  51. Idk if you have a “humpback” but my friend had one when he was in highschool. He was determined to fix it so Everytime he could standing mostly he’d try to grab his elbows behind his back. At first he could barely get his arms up, after the months went by he had perfect posture and he could cup both of his elbows. It just takes determination and consistency.

  52. I have this same problem and am trying to work on it. I was just taught that hamstrings and lower back are connected, so hamstrings too. And every professional in the world has told me to do the doorway stretch: hands up, lean into doorway to stretch chest muscles, helps you open the chest and put your shoulders back. Exercises where I have to pull my shoulders back are helping me (like pull back and pretend your squeezing a pencil between your shoulder blades) and lay on a rolled up towel along your spine and let your arms hang out to your sides. Core, core, core. Core for life. And hamstrings and butt for lower back. I also just learned that the more janky, the higher the risk for more serious injury so git on it now.

    When standing and whenever possible, tuck your pelvis under your hips (no back arch), not forward, but under. Shoulders up, back, and down (the pencil thing). At first, it will hurt depending on how bad it is, but I have had a back injury since I was 8, have been doing back exercises twice a week for a month and ballet once a week and yesterday I was able to sit up straight while meditating for a half hour! Big deal for me. Apparently it doesn’t take much, it just takes doing.

    As far as typos and run-on sentences: I don’t care today.

    Edit: NEVER bounce while stretching. And it will be gradual improvement- don’t hurt yourself while stretching/exercising! And pull your bellybutton in toward your spine for core.

  53. Go to physical therapy and let them asses you, and determine how to approach your situation. Not every back is equal and circumstances vary significantly between patients. Good luck.

  54. People saying core strength is important are not wrong, but that’s only one small component. You need to retrain your body to move functionally. This takes literally years of work and guidance from someone competent. If you’re interested in hearing more, PM me. Good luck.

  55. Grab the hairs on the top back of your head and gently pull up. That’s your new posture. That feeling should be replicated throughout the day and it’s easy to remember. Side bonus, you’ll appear much taller!

  56. This shit is expensive but a Herman Miller chair is great. I moved to it from a normal office chair and it’s been amazing. Your mileage may vary though, so I’d suggest using one first.

  57. I switched from a full mattress to a thin memory foam topper on the floor, and from a memory foam pillow to a hard buckwheat pillow. The shoulder and upper back pain that used to plague the first 2 hours of my mornings no longer occurs.

    Also just ordered an ambidextrous mouse so I can alternate hands — I’ve concluded that that’s what’s causing tension on my right side (shoulder and neck in particular).

    A split keyboard’s also really helped.

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