Debunking the “Good Posture” Myth

  • 17th July 2022
  • Pain, Physiotherapy, Stretching, Tips
Most of us are aware that our posture is a contributory factor to desk-related aches and pains. And many of us equate “good posture” to sitting up straight with our shoulders back while we work on our computers all day. But let me ask a question: how long are you able hold this “good posture” for?

10 minutes?

5 minutes?

47 seconds was my personal best.

The issue with posture is not so much about whether it is good or bad. The real issue is sustained posture and holding our muscles and joints in one position for long periods of time. Because this is when joints become stiff and certain muscles become locked short, which can lead to various problems such as back or neck pain. And for many of us, the posture we tend to sustain for long periods, thanks to gravity, is a slouchy one.

So how can we remedy this if holding a “good posture” is not sustainable?

Move more often.

And more specifically, we need to move into the opposite direction. You will often hear me talk about this as reverse posturing. Because every joint needs to be able to move in at least two directions. For optimal joint and muscle health, we need to maintain the mobility of our joints in all the directions they move as much as possible.

So how do we apply this in real life?

If you spend a lot of time bent forwards, make sure to also bend backwards. If your arms are by your side most of the time, stretch them upwards to the ceiling. If your shoulders are often rolled forwards, circle them backwards a few times. If your hips are flexed when you sit, stand up and extend your legs back.

Our bodies were designed for movement and the best posture is the next posture.

It sounds simple. But often it is the simplest shifts that lead to the biggest change. This is not to say that posture is not important; it absolutely is. But I would like to invite you to rethink your idea of a “good posture” in a way that would more effectively support your physical health and well-being. Because it’s not about holding a straight spine with your shoulders back.

Move more, move often.


Of course, there is more we can do to better look after our bodies when it comes to keeping desk-related aches and pains at bay. If you would like to learn more, I can help you to:

  • Improve your flexibility – Tight hamstrings and hip flexors, and a stiff upper back are among the most common contributors to low back pain for desk workers. If you have tried stretching with no noticeable improvements, my yoga methods will help.
  • Improve your core and back strength – Learn the principles of Pilates-based exercises which will be tailored to your specific body type in order to get the most strength gains from your exercises.
  • Better understand your body and how you move – Everyone moves and bends in different ways, and sometimes how we move can put excessive strain through one area of our body. Understanding how you move or compensate allows you learn how to better control your movement, improve your mobility, and reduce pain.
  • Ergonomic assessment individualized to you – Contrary to popular belief, it is not just about having your knees, hips and elbows at 90 degrees and your eyes level with the top of your computer screen. As a personal example, I use my entire monitor screen because I don’t like to scroll. So when I’m reading from the mid to bottom part of my screen, my neck is on a larger amount of strain. Keeping my eyes level with the middle of my screen, in this case, is more comfortable for me and helped to reduce my neck discomfort. Of course, the other option is to scroll more. But it is easier to adjust your environment to your habits than to change your habits to suit your environment. The key is making little tweaks and identifying things that will help to optimize your environment for you.

If you would like to book an appointment with Sharon, please give us a phone on 01224 900102 or alternatively you can also book online.