Patients ask me whether ‘posture correctors’ can fix their posture? My answer: it depends on what you are trying to fix. We know poor posture in terms of your spine has been associated with causing or accelerating degenerative disc disease or disc bulges, spinal stenosis, headaches and migraines, low energy levels, and it can just be downright unsightly. So, anything we can do to help with our posture is a good thing.
“To live a long, active, energetic life, few things matter more than good posture.”
– Dr. Rene Calliet, MD
Most ‘posture correctors’ are designed to help only with shoulder posture – not spinal posture. They are used to help with rolled-in or forward shoulder posture specifically. When you put one on, it immediately has some pressure to help pull your shoulders back. The pressure or the tension is not enough to hold your shoulders back into proper position long-term. What ‘posture correctors’ do a really good job at is reminding you to stand or sit with good posture. They alert you to to pull your shoulders back, to activate the correct muscles in your posterior shoulders and back.
Shoulder ‘posture correctors’ work really well for those people that have a hunched-forward posture, especially with internally rotated shoulders (rolled in or forward). In fact they work great if your primary concern is getting your shoulders back, activating the appropriate muscles, and stretching the anterior chest muscles. But only as a reminder, you still need to do the work to create the endurance and balance in the muscles involved holding your shoulders in the normal position.
‘Posture correctors’ will NOT fix forward head posture (FHP). FHP is a complex postural pattern that involves more than just a muscle imbalance. With FHP there are ligaments, faulty neurology, and muscle imbalances that need to be addressed together in order to successfully treat and correct forward head posture.
Two of the most useful times to use a ‘posture corrector’ is when you know you will be sitting for long periods of time and during exercise. They serve to remind you to hold your shoulders back to activate the appropriate muscles while sitting. When you exercise, you are training your posture to hold whatever posture you are working out or moving with. Whether you are exercising your shoulders, doing squats, going for a run, or doing a set of biceps curls, activating the muscles appropriately, while you’re exercising, is a really good time to use a ‘posture corrector’. It allows you to keep your shoulder blades retracted back. This will help to restore rolled-in shoulders and train yourself to ‘hold’ better posture during exercise.
There are no short-cuts to improving your posture or your rolled-in shoulders. But with a little consistent work, you can change your posture.
Shoulders back and sit up straight :),