June 30, 2022 3 min read

“Is my posture really so bad? Why do I have bad posture?” We don’t blame anyone for having to ask these questions—millions of people have poor posture, and most of them don’t realize it until there’s a big problem. It’s not difficult to understand the conditions and actions that cause bad posture, but it can be very difficult to recognize them as you go on about your day.

Even if you don’t exhibit some of the more obvious signs of bad posture, like neck and back pain, you could still have a major posture issue that just hasn’t come to a head yet. The sooner you do a posture check and figure out where you stand (or how you stand, in this case), the sooner you can take steps to correct the problem and prevent greater physical and psychological harm. Let’s go over how to know if you have bad posture and what might be causing it.

Common Causes of Bad Posture

An individual’s posture issues usually stem from a few different things. One of the main culprits in today’s society is our tendency to sit at a desk too long, either at work or at school, and the positions we hold while we’re sitting. Hunching over to get closer to a screen or a book will greatly impact your posture and comfort, especially when you do it for hours on end. Working without ergonomic desk setups, sleeping on a poor-quality mattress, and wearing unsupportive shoes will exacerbate the problem.

Overall health is a big determining factor in posture too. Being overweight or dealing with mental stress or low self-esteem can impact the way you carry yourself. Suffering some kind of injury, particularly sports injuries or those resulting from car accidents, can have long-term consequences for your posture as well. Sometimes poor posture is a simple matter of genetics as well.

Physical Signs of Bad Posture

So, what does bad posture look like? The two most visible indicators are a forward head carriage, when your head leans forward and causes more stress on your neck, and a hunchback, when you notice a rounding of the upper back. If you notice these characteristics in yourself or someone else, bad posture is almost certainly at play.

Not all bad posture symptoms are visible to the eye, of course. Some common problems one might experience are chronic fatigue, bad circulation, herniated discs, misalignment, a limited range of motion, curvature of the spine, and of course, regular neck, back, or shoulder pain. All of these problems can get worse and eventually lead to severe debilitation if left untreated.

Simple Posture Test

Still wondering how to know if your posture is correct? There’s an easy trick that’s been used for years to check your posture and see if your body is out of alignment: the DIY wall posture test. Stand with your back against the wall and your feet six inches in front of you. If you have proper posture, your head, shoulders, and buttocks should be touching the wall, and there should be less than two inches between the wall and your neck or the small of your back. If your body does not line up in this way, it might be a good time to turn to a professional for some guidance on posture correction.

How to Improve Your Posture

Thankfully, there are plenty of ways you can train your body to achieve better posture. When it comes to sitting, try keeping your head straight, your knees slightly lower than your hips, your shoulders back and relaxed, and feet flat on the floor. When standing, remember to keep your shoulders back, use your core to keep your body straighter, use a slight bend in the knees to take pressure off your hips, and wear supportive shoes. While walking, it’s important to keep your chin parallel to the ground and make sure to let your heel hit the ground first, then roll onto your toes.

If you want to pick up the speed and run, keep in mind that you should have your head up and looking forward, keep your arms loose with your elbows at 90 degrees, lean forward slightly, and make sure your feet hit the ground at the midpoint. You can also improve your posture at night by stretching before bed, sleeping on a firm mattress, and putting a pillow between your knees.

If you’ve taken all these steps and still notice signs and symptoms of bad posture, a posture correction device can be a huge help. Posture Perfect offers several excellent posture correction products (back braces and more) that can put your body back into a proper position and leave you feeling better than you have in ages.