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How can my posture affect my health?

Normal posture is the ideal balanced position your body should assume to counteract the force of gravity whenever you stand, sit, walk, or sleep. Abnormal or poor posture occurs when your body isn't receiving proper support in its struggle against gravity. Certain health problems that are frequently reported in association with abnormal postures include tension headaches, overuse syndromes, easy fatigability, decreased sports performance, and a decreased healing capacity after injury.1

Maintaining a balanced posture primarily depends on three factors: your skeleton/joints, your muscles/soft tissues, and the messages your brain sends to your body. If there is an imbalance in the length of one or more of your leg bones, or if any of your support joints (ankles, knees, hips/pelvis, neck) are not moving properly, unequal pressure can occur which may cause postural problems. Weak muscles or lax connective tissues may limit the body's ability to maintain proper balance. And finally, your brain regulates how your body is positioned during the day. You don't have to consciously remind yourself, "Don't tip over!" while you're standing - your brain does that for you. However, over time your body and brain may make some compromises on what's best for you by favoring short-term positions (slouching, adapting to avoid painful movements, etc.) that feel good, but can lead to increased postural problems later on. And the longer inappropriate postural positions are maintained, the more likely they are to become your standard way of sitting, standing, walking, or sleeping.

What if my postural problems start in my feet?

If there is a structural imbalance in your feet which is affecting your postural health, your healthcare professional may prescribe spinal pelvic stabilizers (foot orthotics) to help your feet maintain their structural and functional balance as you stand, walk, or run. Check with your healthcare provider to see if spinal/pelvic stabilizers might help improve your postural condition.