7 Keys to Improve Your Back Posture

Daniela Andarcia · 4 June, 2021
Poor posture is linked to pain, injury, and problems with the functioning of muscles, organs, and basic body processes. We show you how to get your back in the correct position.

In general, a healthy back has three curves: the cervical, the thoracic and the lumbar. Maintaining good posture not only allows you to maintain these natural curves, but also strengthens and balances the muscles that flank your spine. Although this sounds good in theory, practice says otherwise, which is why you need to improve your back posture.

Exercising and stretching, wearing a posture corrector and maintaining a healthy weight are some keys to avoiding developing a bad posture. Find out in what other ways you can improve your back posture.

7 tips to improve back posture

Good posture doesn’t mean staying stiff all day. Instead, you should be loose and flexible while your back is straight, your head is looking up, and your chin and belly are pulled in. To achieve this, be sure to follow the recommended keys below:

1. Always remember to keep upright

To improve back posture it is necessary to avoid distractors.
To walk upright, you need to be aware while using smart devices.

Although it sounds obvious, we often aren’t aware of it. Even if you suffer from poor posture, you probably need someone to remind you to straighten up!

The best way to do this is to be aware of the position of your back and, once you have noticed that you have a bad posture, stand up and imagine that you’re up against a wall measuring your height.

2. Exercise and stretch regularly

If you’re someone who exercises frequently, you need to realize that the most suitable exercises to improve your back posture are those that affect the core, that is, the abdomen, back, and buttocks. Among them are the plate back exercises, basic back extension, and the back bridge.

If you don’t have much time to train, keep in mind that a daily 10-minute walk will help your back health by keeping it in the correct position and increasing flexibility and energy.

Similarly, you need to spend at least 10 minutes a day doing simple stretches like simple head movements. Gentle physical activities such as yoga or Pilates are recommended above all, as these can strengthen the supporting muscles of the back and, therefore, contribute to a good posture.

Lastly, and contrary to popular belief, a study published in The Spine Journal showed that exercise is safe for people with chronic low back pain. It doesn’t increase the risk of injury and can serve as a therapeutic tool to improve back flexibility and strength.

3. Be careful you don’t get text neck

Text neck occurs when you’re constantly leaning your neck forward each time you write, reply to, and review a message. This is a practice that, like stooping, can take its toll in the long term, and so we recommend that when you use your phone, you move your eyes and not your head when you’re looking at the screen.

4. Don’t wear high heels frequently

Despite how fabulous they may look, there’s scientific evidence that high-heeled shoes affect back posture. This is because they alter the natural position of the foot and ankle, causing the base of the spine to lean forward and arch the back. In addition, such a position puts pressure on the nerves in this area and causes pain.

Similarly, high heels can add more weight to the knees, and so only sporadic use is recommended. However, if this type of shoe is part of your daily outfit, then try to choose a pair that has a thick, low heel.

5. Adopt a correct sleeping posture

You should also be aware of your back position at bedtime if you want to improve your back posture and avoid waking up with back and neck pain. To do so, follow these recommendations:

  • Use a semi-firm mattress. According to research published in Sleep Health, these are the best ones to reduce back pain while you’re sleeping.
  • If you sleep on your side, bend your knees a little, but avoid hugging them in to you.
  • If you sleep on your back, don’t use a thick pillow. Instead, rest on a small pillow that you place under your neck.

6. Use a back corrector

Different devices are available on the market whose function is to improve your back posture. These are usually splints, girdles, or shirts that seek to simulate the three curves of the back.

A study published in Spine showed that wearing a hip belt reduces acute low back pain and, therefore, the consumption of medications. The researchers suggest that this could be used as a complementary treatment.

Similarly, a study in athletes with poor posture found that wearing a shoulder splint doesn’t only improve shoulder posture, but also helped strengthen the muscles of the shoulder girdle.

Despite their popularity, a study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Pain found that there’s no quality scientific evidence to support the benefits of wearing corrective shirts. For this reason, it’s recommended that you consult with a specialist as to which would be the most applicable in your case.

7. Maintain a healthy weight

To improve back posture, it may be necessary to lose weight.
Obesity and being overweight represent real health problems.

According to a study published in BioMed Research International, being overweight, obese, and having a sedentary life can affect children’s posture. It is at this age that most postural problems begin.

Researchers agree that excessive body mass reduces stability, which is why the body is forced to seek new postures that can compromise health.

This causes lordosis, a pronounced curvature in the lower spine, and a permanent forward tilt of the pelvis, also known as pelvic anteversion.

Similarly, it can cause excessive shortening or lengthening of the spine. Along with pelvic anteversion, they are the cause of internal rotation of the hip joints, knee valgus, and flat feet.

In this sense, it’s necessary to take care of weight both in childhood and in adulthood, so that the development of these negative postural modifications can be avoided.

Good posture provides a better quality of life

Good posture is more important than you think. Adopting a correct body alignment when standing, sitting, and even when sleeping, is considered essential in order to have a better quality of life.

Tips such as avoiding a hunched posture, exercising and stretching frequently, and using a back corrector (if necessary) are all recommended.

  • Rainville, J., Hartigan, C., Martinez, E., Limke, J., Jouve, C., & Finno, M. (2004). Exercise as a treatment for chronic low back pain. The spine journal : official journal of the North American Spine Society, 4(1), 106–115. https://doi.org/10.1016/s1529-9430(03)00174-8
  • Cronin N. J. (2014). The effects of high heeled shoes on female gait: a review. Journal of electromyography and kinesiology : official journal of the International Society of Electrophysiological Kinesiology, 24(2), 258–263. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jelekin.2014.01.004
  • Cary, D., Briffa, K., & McKenna, L. (2019). Identifying relationships between sleep posture and non-specific spinal symptoms in adults: A scoping review. BMJ open, 9(6), e027633. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2018-027633
  • Radwan, A., Fess, P., James, D., Murphy, J., Myers, J., Rooney, M., Taylor, J., & Torii, A. (2015). Effect of different mattress designs on promoting sleep quality, pain reduction, and spinal alignment in adults with or without back pain; systematic review of controlled trials. Sleep health, 1(4), 257–267. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sleh.2015.08.001
  • Calmels, P., Queneau, P., Hamonet, C., Le Pen, C., Maurel, F., Lerouvreur, C., & Thoumie, P. (2009). Effectiveness of a lumbar belt in subacute low back pain: an open, multicentric, and randomized clinical study. Spine, 34(3), 215–220. https://doi.org/10.1097/BRS.0b013e31819577dc
  • Cole, A. K., McGrath, M. L., Harrington, S. E., Padua, D. A., Rucinski, T. J., & Prentice, W. E. (2013). Scapular bracing and alteration of posture and muscle activity in overhead athletes with poor posture. Journal of athletic training, 48(1), 12–24. https://doi.org/10.4085/1062-6050-48.1.13
  • Palsson, T. S., Travers, M. J., Rafn, T., Ingemann-Molden, S., Caneiro, J. P., & Christensen, S. W. (2019). The use of posture-correcting shirts for managing musculoskeletal pain is not supported by current evidence – a scoping review of the literature. Scandinavian journal of pain, 19(4), 659–670. https://doi.org/10.1515/sjpain-2019-0005
  • Wyszyńska, J., Podgórska-Bednarz, J., Drzał-Grabiec, J., Rachwał, M., Baran, J., Czenczek-Lewandowska, E., Leszczak, J., & Mazur, A. (2016). Analysis of Relationship between the Body Mass Composition and Physical Activity with Body Posture in Children. BioMed research international, 2016, 1851670. https://doi.org/10.1155/2016/1851670