The number of people searching for “posture correctors” and “posture braces” indicates that many people are in dire need of posture correction. Regrettably, based on their search criteria, they are somewhat misguided. Posture support braces cannot correct bad posture and may do you more harm than good.
Posture support braces are mostly cosmetic. Wearing them may make you look better, but they do nothing to help develop the muscles necessary for good posture.
Weaker posture braces are totally ineffective. Your body adapts to them in minutes and then assumes the normal slump to which it is accustomed.
Stronger posture braces cannot resolve the problem either because they stop you from moving freely. This leads to muscle atrophy, the wasting or loss of muscle tissue, which can start within twenty four hours. More specifically, the condition is known as disuse atrophy and it occurs from a lack of physical exercise. Your muscles start to shrink. Disuse atrophy will create even bigger problems for you.
After wearing your brace for a while you will find that when you remove it at night, your posture slump will be worse that it was originally. This is because your muscles have become weakened and cannot support you adequately. Apart from being uncomfortable, posture braces also sometimes cause rashes.
When it comes to posture correction, most attempts are directed toward the spine, shoulders and pelvis. These are important, but the position of your head is the most important. Your body follows your head. Your entire body can be aligned by first aligning your head. In other words, if you do not correct the forward head position, your attempts to improve your posture may amount to nothing.
If you want to improve your posture there are much better alternatives than posture support braces, but before we examine them it is important to understand how bad posture arises.
Poor posture is the result of bad habits that end up weakening your core posture support muscles. Invariably, you end up with an element of forward head posture, a condition that cannot be remedied by posture braces.
Forward head posture arises when you carry your head forward of the center of your shoulder. As your head moves forward, your center of gravity shifts. To compensate for this shift in the center of gravity, your upper body drifts backwards. To compensate for the upper body shift, your hips tilt forward and this is how you end up getting bent out of shape.
For every inch that your head moves forward, it gains about ten pounds in weight. Gravity starts pulling at your head and over time your forward head posture gets worse, placing an ever increasing strain on your body. The result is a significant deterioration in your quality of life with not only head, neck and TMJ problems, but also mid-back and low-back problems.
Now that you understand how bad posture arises, let us examine some simple, but effective ways to improve your posture without the need of ineffective posture support braces:
1. Do daily posture exercises to strengthen your core muscles.
2. Evaluate your computer posture. This entails the proper placement of your computer equipment, the correct viewing angle and the proper typing height of your computer. This, combined with the correct keyboard posture, can significantly reduce muscular-skeletal strain in the muscles and joints of your shoulders, neck, back and arm.
3. Pay attention to your sleeping posture. The correct sleeping position is on your back. Your spine should maintain its normal curvature while you sleep. Sleeping on your side is your next best position. Sleeping on your stomach is the worst position and is not recommended.
4. If you are overweight, you should try and change your lifestyle by eating correctly and losing weight. Obesity leads to slouching and the extra weight can pull your body out of alignment. This in turn places a heavier burden on your spine and your lower back.
5. Most importantly, stretch regularly. Stretching will help lengthen both your muscles and tendons. This will increase your range of movement which means that your limbs and joints can move further before an injury occurs.
As mentioned above, one of the best solutions to correct bad posture is to stretch and one of the best ways to stretch is to use a posture cushion. A good posture cushion will allow your head to assume a neutral position in relation to your shoulders. The contours of the cushion should be such that it pushes your thorax forward, stretching the muscles in the front of your chest and relaxing the muscles in your mid and upper back.
It is never too late to improve your posture. Just because you have bad posture right now does not mean that you have to stay that way for the rest of your life. Follow the guidelines set out above and you will be well on your way to improving your posture.