7 Reasons why posture is not the problem.

Poor posture is one of the most popular scapegoats for pain today.  It is constantly cited as a reason why someone has neck, low back, or shoulder pain.  It is cited as a reason for headaches as well as weakness.  It has essentially become the thing to “fix” to help everything else.  This perspective has led to countless people wasting their resources (time, money, energy) trying to correct their posture in efforts to stop hurting and improve their health.

Here are 7 reasons why posture is NOT the problem.

  1. There is no perfect or ideal posture. There never was.  This is a cultural concept that stuck around.  An ideal posture was proposed in studies but never seen.  This means that everyone with or without pain never had or lacked a “perfect posture” because there never was one.
  2. There are many postures -sitting, standing, twisting, bending, leaning, lying (face up, down, side), and combinations of them all. There are also multiple postures when moving – walking, running, jogging, twisting, jumping, etc.  Not only has an ideal posture not been found for not moving while standing, but none have also been found for not moving in all the other positions as well.  Nor while moving.
  3. Studies repeatedly show that posture does not correlate to pain. This is shown in multiple ways including a “forward head” position, which has been coined “text-neck”; upper-cross syndrome, where the head and shoulder are generally hunched forward, rounded-back as well as extended sitting.
  4. Many “corrections” for trying to attain a perfect posture consist of increasing joint angles in other joints. An example is someone considered too bent forward may “straighten up” by increasing the angle in the lumbar spine when the “too far forward” is a result of the thoracic spine position.
  5. It is common for people to have structural arrangements where they can never be in an “ideal posture” such as those with scoliosis, uneven leg lengths, uneven pelvis, etc. Many times, people never know these structural arrangements exist nor do they have pain.
  6. Some people with “worse” posture have no pain while others with “better” posture have more pain.
  7. Not being able to maintain a certain posture is NOT due to muscle weakness.

THINK ABOUT THIS:  Correct posture appears to be very fickle.  Why is a “straight, untwisted and unbent” spine desirable and considered “good” when standing while if you observe anyone at a part of the day, they are in a position of bent, twisted or un-straight and it is not only OK but also necessary?  Chances are your spine is not “straight” right now.  Do you sleep “straight”? Are you “straight” when you put on a seat belt, drive, read, eat, exercise, do yoga, run, shower, get dressed, have sex, golf, cycle, garden, brush your teeth?

THINK MORE ABOUT THIS:  What about the posture of all the other joints and body parts?  Why has all the talk always been about spinal joints?  Surely there must be some ideal “postures” for al the other joints?  What about slouching knees or a hunch-hip?  How about ankle scoliosis?

AND THIS:  Without an x-ray, it is almost impossible to know the relative position of one bone to another.  You cannot tell simply by looking at someone.


It should be no surprise that posture plays the role of the cure-all when we consider that about 90% of our information comes from the visual system.  Someone has a complaint – we see a posture that is not perfect, and we simply, and mistakenly equate the two.   Make it look better and the complaint should go away.   With the chief complaint being about pain, and pain being such a complicated, multifaceted phenomenon, we need to stop giving credence to the insufficient explanation that improving posture is the solution.  The only thing wrong with your posture might be that you attribute to much influence it has over too many things.



Jason M Weitzner, MS

Certified Medical Exercise Specialist,

Certified Muscle System Specialist

Co-Owner of Symmetry Exercise Clinic in Naples, FL

1750 J&C Blvd. Suite #10, Naples, FL 34109