Posture supports have become increasingly popular nowadays as they allow the user to hold correct posture at all times, with very little effort. With poor posture becoming more and more prevalent amongst younger people, this leads to back and neck conditions, and general pain to begin from a younger age. We’re going to explain why you should only be considering using a posture support under very few circumstances, and the reasons why.

Posture supports may seem like a great idea, and they are in theory, but ongoing use of them can be detrimental to your body’s natural strength and muscle integrity. Many younger people nowadays are beginning to experience poor posture due to their activities during the day. Increased social media networking on phones, playing of video games, sitting on the sofa or in bed watching Netflix or YouTube, all of these are commonly done for multiple hours during the day, and if they’re not done with correct posture, can all gradually be a cause of back or neck pain. ‘Tech Neck’ has become a real problem due to the constant use of mobile phones and poor posture at the office or at home causing a classic forward bend in the neck. Looking down at your phone, sitting hunched over or leaning forward at your desk, laying in bed or on the sofa with your head propped up as you watch TV, these are all activities that can really alter your posture in a detrimental way. Symptoms can often include tight muscles in the shoulders and upper back, back pain, neck pain, and frequent headaches as a result of the blood vessels and nerves at the back of the neck being compressed from your head position. Long-term, bad posture can cause muscles in the body to become weak and short, making it even more difficult to adopt correct posture, as once your body as adapted the muscles can become fatigued much quicker so cannot hold a correct posture for long without causing pain or aching.

How To Correct Your Posture?

But, that doesn’t mean you should abandon all efforts of having good posture, nor should you now reach for the posture support. Remembering to consistently correct your posture and persist even though you may feel discomfort and muscle fatigue at first, is key to overcoming muscle weakness and become stronger. In the same way you’d go to the gym to strengthen your muscles, you need to persist in strengthening the muscles required to hold your posture correctly. Reaching for a posture would quite simply destroy any muscle integrity you have left, as it completely replaces the job of your muscles. You will become completely reliant on the device to correct your posture, rather than using your muscles.

Pain When Correcting Your Posture

Furthermore, if you have difficulty maintaining a posture beyond that muscle fatigue and aching pain, say for example you have a back injury, then trying to maintain correct posture may well cause you a significant amount of pain. Reaching for a posture support at this point is not going to actually pinpoint or target the underlying problem. If you spine is in the wrong position, or you have a back injury, the support will not fix that, and as soon as you take it off, your body will revert back to an abnormal position. If you do reach for a support, this will also get worse over time as your muscles become even weaker.

If the support is a lumbar back support, as opposed to one that supports the upper back and shoulders, this can bring itself a whole host of new problems. As well as gradually depleting your core stability, because of where they are usually positioned across your lower back it can also cause a new problem to arise due to how you may need to alter your behaviour to accommodate for the brace. Any activities that involve bending or twisting your body may not be possible when you’re wearing a back support in the lumbar region, so you may be tempted to alter the way in which you move your body in order to fulfil certain tasks. If this is the case, you may leave yourself vulnerable to injury because all of a sudden you’re changing the way your body operates, and without strength in the muscles to accommodate for the odd change in movement, you can quite easily cause yourself injury.

Rehabilitating Patients Who Have Used Back Supports

Rehabilitating patients who have been using back supports can be a longer process in general, but it should not be shied away from if you rely on one yourself. An in-depth examination will need to be done initially to determine exactly what the underlying cause of your back pain has been if it’s an injury. If clinically relevant we do send our patients for upright X-rays which show how you would naturally stand on a daily basis, this is a very important part of our examination process since many of our patients have previously experienced lying down X-rays that give little to no insight into what’s caused you to be in pain. Spine alignment can have a huge bearing on why the patient is experiencing pain and what they’re doing on a daily basis that could be having an effect on their body’s ability to heal the problem. Patients who have been reliant on back supports can in general be much more prone to relapses, since they’re having to completely build the strength in their muscles back up again in order to effectively support their spine. We provide exercises and stretches to be done by the patient in their spare time, that they will need to be perseverant with, as well as very regimented with the treatment plan in order to get the best results. It is possible to regain control of your body’s posture, without the use of such devices.

If you’re looking for help with your posture, or if you’ve been using a posture support and are now finding it difficult to support your body without using it, it’s worthwhile seeking help from your local osteopath or chiropractor to get the problem sorted. If you’re based in and around London, call us today on 0203 947 3222 or email us at info@themayfairclinic.com to arrange your first visit. This will include an examination, X-rays if clinically relevant and a treatment on your first visit.