Is poor posture causing your back or neck ache?

By Robin Adams – West Country Osteopaths. Original published in CityPress magazine July 2011



Many people do not realise he impact that their posture has upon the ongoing wellbeing of their spine and musculo-skeletal system. Put another way, if you're not actively looking after your posture, you are likely to suffer from unnecessary back, neck or shoulder aches. Worse still, you may also be setting yourself up for unnecessary arthritis later in life.


As osteopaths, we spend a great deal of time helping clients evaluate their posture in respect to how it contributes to their back ache and neck ache. Most of us, need a little assistance or prompt from time to time to stand with good posture.


Sometimes we develop poor habits as a result of our work – many people work in front of computer screens and develop rounded shoulders and neck strain. Some people doing manual work put a great deal of strain on their lower back, which is worsened by having slightly incorrect posture. For others, their posture may be affected by an anomaly such as a twisted pelvis leading to asymmetry in the spine and imbalance in the postural muscles.

If you think that posture may be causing you to suffer with a back or neck ache, have a look at the following tips.


  1. Practice standing straight and tall, whilst gently using your tummy muscles to hold your lower back straight.

  2. Make sure that you have your weight balanced equally between your left and right feet, as well as between the heel and forefoot.

  3. At your desk try to ensure your knees are slightly lower than your hips, whilst maintaing good upper body posture.

  4. When sitting on soft chairs, use cushions to keep your spine straight.

  5. Use exercise such as swimming, pilates or tai chi to build core stability.

  6. Try laying on the floor for a few minutes, each day, allowing your shoulders to stretch backwards.


For further help, contact West Country Osteopaths for an assessment on 01392 555111.