Have you ever wondered why you keep getting that back or shoulder pain? Have you ever looked in the mirror and felt that your posture just didn’t look right?
Well you are not alone, 90% of people have what is known as a sway back posture, this is one of the faulty postures that plague our modern times and contributes to low back pain.
Before we look at what sway back is in detail we need to understand what ‘ideal’ posture looks.
What is Ideal posture?
Ideal posture is really about your body alignment, or put another way, how your structural parts such as head, torso, hips and knees, etc. relate to each other. You can probably say you are pretty close to ideal posture when your head, shoulders, spine, hips, knees and ankles all line up well with one another.
The most common way to test this is by observation or using a plumb line (a piece of string which is suspended from a ceilng and has a small weight attached at bottom to ensure it’s vertical) The person then stands next to the vertical line so the joint alignment can be compared against it.
Whether you're standing, sitting, lying down or moving, the body parts need to be balanced in order for ideal posture to take place. This balance reduces the load on the muscles to maintain an upright posture. Some muscles are always active in this balanced state such as the Soleus, Hip Fexors, Gluteus Medius and Erector Spinae.
Due to our modern lifestyles, sitting at desks all day, sitting in cars and generally not moving enough, more of us experience at one time or another a faulty or poor posture.
Examples of different faulty postures
Some of the examples of faulty posture can be as follows:
Sway back posture
Flat back posture
Round back (increased kyphosis) with forward head
Sway back posture – a leading poor posture type causing back pain
Sway back posture is one of the most common postural issues leading to low back pain so we will focus on just type.. Casually known as the ‘lazy posture’, it is identified by shoulders and chest leaning backwards, with hips turned in and the pelvis and chin thrust forward.
Why do people get sway back?
Sway back posutre is often down to lack of support at the hips and pelvic area which then puts a lot of pressure onto the lower back. Weak abdominal muscles add to the problem.
Who does it affect?
You are more likely to get this posture if you have weak glutes, quads or lower abdominals. If you sit a lot for work or are generally sedentary you may be susceptable to weakened muscles.
Don’ts to prevent sway back posture
Stand hanging off your hips and spine. Stand up tall using your muscles.
Swim breaststroke, or practise yoga poses like supermans, cobra or downward dog
Use back support accessories with an arched shape.
Do’s to prevent sway back posture
Sit deep in your chair, with your back straight and your chin facing ahead.
Train your glutes and quad muscles with the correct exercises, such as half squats.
Strengthen your lower abdominal muscles with leg lifts and reverse crunches.
Firstly we need to help loosen off those tight muscles caused by the sway back posture and then corrective exercises are needed to strengthen the weaker muscles to bring back proper alignment. This takes the pressure off the wrong places and relieves pain.
Do you feel like your posture isn’t as it should be?
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