Experiencing lower back pain? Worried about the long-term effects that a desk job has on your posture? Find out whether a posture corrector is really worth it, according to the experts.
As technology advances and desk jobs become more and more prominent, our bodies get the memo to start slouching over our screens, nestling us into poor postures and lower back and neck pain. Our bodies are becoming more and more familiar with sitting for long periods, with 66.6% of people sitting at their desk for more than six hours in a workday, and 50% sitting for more than eight hours a day.
Sitting down for a majority of every day can cause some bad low back pain later in life, and at this rate, it’s not looking like it’s getting any better. Poor posture doesn’t just impact our physical health, either — with poor posture linked to depressive disorders and a general lack of confidence, it’s a worry for our mental health, too.
So, what are the long-term effects a poor posture can have on your spine? And is there anything you can do to counteract those effects?
To counteract the effects of a poor posture, the first step is to readjust. To correct your posture, you have to establish and train a correct sitting and standing position into your everyday routine. But it can be tricky to know how to train yourself into a proper sitting and standing position if you weren’t sure how to hold yourself, to begin with. This is often when people turn to posture correction.
What are posture correctors?
A posture corrector is a lightweight, wearable technology that should be comfortable to wear when you’re standing as you usually would, in a neutral position.
When you start to show signs of slouching or hunching your back, the posture corrector will correct the position of your spine, to right itself. The thing is, posture correction is not always perceived positively in the health industry.
“Many health professionals that work with spinal health consider posture correctors to be counterproductive,” writes Jason Gilbert, a sports physician. “They say that posture correctors make muscles lazy and consequently dysfunctional.”
This stems from the idea that posture correctors physically pull the shoulders back, which would alter posture by weakening other important muscles. But a good posture corrector should not be doing any muscular damage.
A good posture corrector only reminds the person wearing it that their posture has become altered and therefore acts as a threat to their spinal function. It is easy to see how beneficial they really can be.
So, a good posture corrector should not be significantly impacting the state of your muscles but should be reminding you to change your posture on your own, like an alarm that goes off a few times a day.
Because of this, the benefits of a posture corrector really depend on your personal needs — in terms of the lifestyle changes you’re willing to make, and how much back support you need due to the lower back pain you’re experiencing.
Which Type of Posture Corrector is Right for Your Needs?
Electronic Posture Reminder
A posture corrector doesn’t necessarily need to be something that’s physically pulling at your shoulder blades. If you’re not experiencing significant back pain and you’re really just looking for a reminder to correct your posture, you can invest in an Electronic Posture Reminder. Attach one to the front of your bra or use an adhesive and stick it to your upper back. This will cause the device to vibrate whenever you start to slump, gently reminding you to readjust into the correct posture.
Cross-Back Elastic Brace
These are the posture correctors that most people are familiar with. They’re the most accessible, the most common, and the most breathable. You can slip these braces on under a t-shirt, and they’re virtually invisible. Because these braces are the most comfortable to wear, they offer less support than other types of posture correctors, only slightly pulling at your back muscles, but they’re still great for everyday use to remind you to pull your shoulders back a little more. A Cross-Back Elastic Brace is a good option if you’re experiencing some minor back pain and want some help correcting that.
Longline Back Brace
If you need more than just a gentle reminder to stand up straight, you could use a Longline Back Brace. This will provide support down more of your back than other braces provide – structured from the very top of your hip, all the way to the base of your neck, this posture brace is designed to keep you in an upright position by straightening your standing position. These braces are more likely to be seen beneath clothing but provide significant support throughout your whole back. If you experience chronic pain or your posture is significantly out of alignment, you must seek professional advice from an occupational therapist or physical therapist so that you can be sure you’re doing the right thing for your long-term health.
What Else Can I Do To Correct My Posture?
A posture corrector can work, yes, but putting on a back brace isn’t going to fix your pain overnight. The journey to the best posture is a long one. Your results are dependent on the other lifestyle changes you’re making to counteract the effects of a poor posture.
Your posture corrector should be used in tandem with fitness routines to eliminate the pain you’re experiencing. These routines should be designed by a professional physical therapist that can adequately assess your situation.
What is essential is for a physiotherapist to assess these individuals to determine the contributing factors to their pain.
There are so many factors that can contribute to a poor posture, mostly related to muscle pain like muscle tightness, joint stiffness, muscle weakness, general condition, sleep, stress and beliefs about posture, according to senior physiotherapist Leslie Trigg.
These factors need to be targeted by a physiotherapist to minimise any long-term dependence on a posture corrector. Incorporating essential physical therapy knowledge into your lifestyle, working in tandem with the positive benefits of a posture corrector, can reassure you that you’re minimising the long-term effects of a bad posture.
If you’re really worried about the future of your back pain, you can’t just order a posture corrector off Amazon and hope for the best. You need expert advice.
Passionate about improving people’s physical wellbeing?Browse Courses
Curious about becoming a physiotherapist yourself?
Diploma of Building and Construction (Building) (SE Melb Only) CPC50220
This course (CPC50220) is designed to meet the needs of people working in the building industry whose intention is to become a Registered Building Practitioner, satisfying the education requirements of the VBA. It is specifically designed for learners...
Certificate IV in Building and Construction (SE Melb Only) CPC40120
The Certificate IV in Building and Construction (CPC40120) is designed to meet the needs of people working in the building industry and who aim to be builders and managers of small to medium-sized building projects. This nationally recognised qualifica...
Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care (Melbourne Only) CHC50121
The Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care is a highly sought-after qualification within the early childhood education sector. Upon completion, graduates will have the skills and knowledge to become a lead educator in the delivery of Early Child...
Diploma of Mental Health CHC53315
Would you like to follow a career path that will equip you with specialised skills to lead and counsel people towards a brighter future? If a career providing counselling to those impaired by mental health interests you, the Diploma of Mental Health qu...
Diploma of Nursing (SA Only) HLT54115
Build a career that’s meaningful, fills you with a sense of purpose, and provides diverse job opportunities, with this Diploma of Nursing course. Offered via a blend of on-campus and online learning the HLT54115 Diploma of Nursing is the ideal starting...