By Dr. Paul Calladine (Chiropractor)
What is sway back posture?
Sway back posture, also called hyperlordosis, is a type of posture where your lower back is arched, pushing your hips forwards and shoulders back.
It is one of the many bad postures that I see regularly as a chiropractor. I use the word ‘bad’ to mean a posture that is out of natural alignment, potentially contributing to a range of health and functional issues.
Common characteristics of sway back posture
Sway back posture is characterised by the pelvis pushing in front of your centre of gravity, causing compensatory shifts in posture elsewhere in the body.
- Your pelvis may be tilted and positioned forward from your centre of gravity
- Your lower back may have an exaggerated curve
- Your upper back may round or curve
- Your chest cavity may round in on itself
- Forward head posture
Do you suffer from 'sway back like' posture? I hope not, but if you do, we may be able to help
Imagine your pelvis pushed forward, in front of your centre of gravity. This throws off your centre of gravity. As a result, your upper back may curve out, to counteract the forward pelvis.
Think of your upper back as a capital C. Note the inverse curve – the inside of the C – this represents your chest cavity rounding in on itself. Both your upper back and chest cavity alter their positions in response to the forward positioning of your pelvis/hips.
You may also experience forward head posture. These are called compensatory adaptations and together, they shift your body away from a neutral posture, into an altered state.
What are the causes of sway back posture?
There are a number of factors that may contribute to sway back posture. These may include:
- Spinal misalignments, including an exaggerated curve in the lower back
- Tight muscles e.g. lower back muscles and hip flexors
- Poor posture habits
- Prolonged periods of sitting e.g. office work
The problem with sway back posture - broken down by body part
You may experience other postural or health issues as a result of sway back posture. These may include:
Misalignment of pelvis, contributing to:
- Lower, mid and upper back pain (and chronic pain over the medium to long term)
- Muscle fatigue and tightness, especially in the glutes and hip flexors
- Disc degeneration due to excessive/unusual forces placed on your discs
- Nerve interference e.g. sciatica
- Forward head posture
Forward head posture is often a concerning postural problem. Issues associated with forward head posture may include:
- Tension headaches and migraines
- Neck tension and tight muscles
- Tension and stress on the spinal cord and nervous system
- Feelings of fatigue and irritability
A rounded upper back
Problems associated with a curved upper back may include:
- Development of a hunch
- Tight chest muscles
- Weaker or tighter upper back muscles
- Pressure on the spine and nervous system
Problems associated with a sunken chest may include:
- Reduction in vital capacity of lungs due to compression of chest
- Obvious postural distortions, leading to self esteem and confidence issues
Are there treatment options for sway back posture?
Chiropractors, and other manual therapy practitioners, may be able to help with cases of sway back posture. By addressing any underlying structural issues, you may be better able to correct poor posture habits. The following points should be considered for sway back posture correction:
- Any underlying structural issues need to be addressed to correct associated posture complaints. If you’re crooked on the outside chances are you’re crooked on the inside.
- A series of chiropractic adjustments and mobilisations aim to increase joint range of motion, increase flexibility and restore a more normal alignment to your hips and spine.
- Regular stretching and exercises, targeting specific areas, helps address posture problems. For sway back posture, focus on relaxing tight muscles (lower back and hip flexors) and building strength in weak areas (abdominals, glutes). Consider your psoas muscle.
- Specific tractioning exercises may offer benefits.
Posture Pointers - avoid these things
- Do not sleep on your stomach
- Sitting for prolonger periods of time (have a break, get up and move, every hour)
- Exercises and activities that cause pain and discomfort
Posture Pointers - do these things
- A program of chiropractic adjustments that aim to restore normal posture and spinal alignment
- Functional training that engages a wider variety of muscles compared to traditional 'one exercise' gym training
- Ergonomic assessments of your work place, office and even your car seat
- Yoga and stretch classes
The importance of good posture
Do you remember being told to ‘sit up straight’ as a kid? They were not wrong! However, simply choosing to sit up straight may not be enough to prevent or correct problem postures, such as sway back posture.
Here are our top 5 benefits that come with good posture:
- Good posture helps you look and feel your best
- Good posture helps you function closer to optimal levels
- Good posture decreases abnormal wear and tear on joints
- Your biomechanics are better when your form and function are working naturally
- When your muscles, joints and ligaments are working as nature intended, your vital organs and your nervous system function better.
Contact Us Today
Chiropractors commonly help with posture problems.
Please call (02) 9819 6182 now to schedule your next adjustment.
We look forward to seeing you.
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