5 Most Common Myths about Good Posture



Myth # 1: Using a Standing Desk will solve all Postural problems

Fact: It all depends. Ideally a change of positions is better


How many of you are thinking that your supervisor or boss owes you a standing desk in good faith to contribute to your health & wellness especially with the long hours spent at your computer workstation. However, you’ve heard of other colleagues or friends who already have that expensive standing desk but are not experiencing complete relief of back, neck or shoulder pain. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

I have nothing against standing desks. It is, in fact, something we recommend to a lot of our patients. However, it’s important to note that a standing desk is again a great way to break up the prolonged patterns of sitting all day long. But standing all day long may not be best either. A standing desk is not going to fix that particular neck, back, shoulder, hip or knee problem. Most often, the key lies in switching positions (from standing to sitting, to walking) from time to time.

Another big aspect of standing desks is the way your computer screen is positioned on the standing desk. If your computer screen is too far off, then you can still have a “forward head” posture even on the standing desk in turn causing neck, shoulder pain & headaches.

My point again is that it all depends on your spine & your aches/pains. Trying to find a solution without addressing or knowing the root cause of the problem won’t take you too far!

Myth # 2: Sitting up Taller = Good Posture

Fact: True in some cases, not in all

We all remember the times when mom said “Sit up taller” every time you slouched. But does that advice always apply to having an ideal posture. While mom’s heart was certainly in the right place, this advice does not necessarily apply to everyone suffering from back, neck & shoulder pain.

Your ideal posture is determined by your McKenzie Specialist Physical Therapist by assessing your pain, Range of motion & putting you through a thorough mechanical exam. During the exam, the posture that best helps your symptoms & mechanics (Range of motion, way your joints move etc) is determined by your specialist & you are taught several ways to maintain your posture throughout the day.

In some cases, (75% or more) this postural change requires sitting up with a better lordosis or curvature in your lower back and in others it may require sitting in a neutral posture with no lordosis support (aka without lumbar support). It all depends on WHAT is happening at the spinal level & can be determined by a thorough mechanical exam not by X-Rays or MRI.

Myth # 3: Good Posture is the same for everyone

Fact: There is No One Size fits all when it comes to Posture.

It is a great gesture to gift your Lumbar Roll to your spouse or a close friend because it significantly helped with your symptoms. If you have ever worked with me, you know it is something I prescribe commonly.

However, there is no One Size Fits All when it comes to Posture either. For most people, 75% or more will benefit from using a Standard Density Lumbar Roll to help support lordosis in the back but for a good number of people (especially if you have symptoms down the leg or the arm) this might not be the case.

In fact, sometimes you have to go through a series of movements before your spine can even tolerate the Lumbar Roll. Additionally, there are several types of Postural Rolls available & each is designed & prescribed for a specific purpose.

So next time, while it is a great gesture to share your “postural tips” with your friends or spouse, it may not always be sound advice especially if they are in pain. Getting a mechanical assessment first is always the best choice!

Myth #4: I should Only have Good Posture at Work

Fact: maintaining an Optimal Posture applies to not only work but also in the car, while seated on a flight, at a restaurant, baseball game, concert or church...anywhere and everywhere.

Flight Posture

Once you have your personalized postural guidelines, how far can you go with it? You do not want to restrict your spine being in its “optimal position” to just office hours. It carries over to spending time in the car, metro, bus, taking a long flight. Basically anywhere you will find yourself being in one position for prolonged time.

After all, why should there be any less of the optimal thing happening at your spine, right? If you have ever experienced back, leg or shoulder pain especially while or after traveling, your car/bus ride or the flight posture is a common reason to blame for it.

So, next time you are packing for a holiday, make sure to pack your “ideal posture” whatever that may be. I mean if LeBron James can wear his Lumbar Roll on his Summer vacation, so can you!

Myth # 5: I cannot maintain good posture at work, especially when I get busy; It’s hard to focus on work & think about posture at the same time...let’s be real…

Fact: 100% agreed if you follow the general cookie-cutter postural guidelines that pretty much want you to sit like a robot; Not if you have your personalized realistic guidelines that FIT your lifestyle.

So many people I talk to assume that having a good “posture” is sitting up tall like a Robot - shoulder blades squeezed, tummy tucked in...you get the idea. But that is far from the truth!

After your mechanical assessment, once you are prescribed postural guidelines that fit you, they may be far too easy to implement than you can ever imagine. It does not have to be as complicated as it sounds. After all, the phrase “Keep it Simple, Stupid!” was coined for a reason.

Want to learn more?

So, liked what you read? Wondering what your “ideal posture” should be like? Give us a Call to inquire about getting your personalized Postural assessment today.

If you or someone you know experiences this very familiar lower back pain or stiffness, neck, shoulder or upper back pain call us to talk to your Spine Specialist today or you can even schedule a Free Phone Consultation to learn more specifically about your problem and ways in which we can help!

Trupti Mehta, PT, MS, OCS

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