Poor Posture? How NOT to Give Up | Posture Doctor

I was a chiropractor with terrible forward head posture. When did this happen?! It became my absolute mission to correct my granny-like appearance.

“Ever Tried?
Ever Failed?
No Matter.
Try Again.
Fail Again.
Fail Better.”
(author unknown)


One of the Biggest Posture Mistakes you can make is giving up when you don’t get immediate results. This really frustrates me, because I know what it is like to have unattractive painful posture, because I did. The sixth year into private practice as a chiropractor, I saw a picture of myself from my own clinic opening and I was horrified by what I saw.



I was a chiropractor with terrible forward head posture. When did this happen?! It became my absolute mission to correct my granny-like appearance. I began eating, sleeping and dreaming posture and went on to gain a fellowship in the physics of posture. I guess it’s fair to say, I fell in love with posture.

Further Reading  >> My Story

I know what it is to struggle and not see immediate results, because I was THAT person. When you refuse to give up, you go from feeling fed up with painful, unattractive posture and arriving in a place you never thought possible!

Painful Posture? Are You Masking Your Pain? | Posture Doctor

Imagine that you are driving along a long stretch of road, late for a meeting one afternoon, and the oil light comes on in your car. You think that you haven’t time to do anything about the oil, so you stick a piece of tape over the light. Now you can’t see the light and you feel better. Don’t you?

Years ago, long before I began helping people correct their posture, I was suffering from chronic daily headaches. I used to think nothing of taking daily aspirin, and I did that for a number of years.

One morning in college (many years ago), while listening to an academic present a provocative speech on health and well-being, he asked us if the medication we take, knows how to find the headache – or, did with think the medication might possibly affect our entire body? Although seemingly obvious, I hadn’t thought of it like this before. I didn’t want chemicals affecting my entire body – I just wanted to be rid of my headaches.



Further Reading: The 7 Biggest Posture Mistakes

Imagine that you are driving along a long stretch of road, late for a meeting one afternoon, and the oil light comes on in your car. You think that you haven’t time to do anything about the oil, so you stick a piece of tape over the light. Now you can’t see the light and you feel better. Don’t you?

Oil acts as a lubricant and prevents metal engine parts from coming in contact with other metal parts. If you didn’t change your oil or oil filter in your car, dirt would accumulate in the engine and the oil would lose its lubricating qualities and eventually the filter would stop working. The metal parts in your car would experience premature wear and eventually your engine would seize up and break down.

Our bodies are a little bit like that. You can only ignore the warning signs for so long. When we take medication, we temporarily feel better because we don’t feel the pain, but the problem still exists. Don’t be fooled into believing that pain medication cures anything. Pain killers mask problems. Eventually the medication stops working and it becomes difficult to restore health. When we medicate, we fail to address the cause of the problem and therefore face the possibility of premature wear and chronic health issues.

It’s tempting to medicate when we have pain, because of the hectic pace of our 24-hour lifestyle. Don’t wait for the pain. Start addressing your health and posture right now. Don’t mask your pain when it comes; and it will come! Learn to trust your body to heal and better still, ask for help. It isn’t easy at the beginning, but over time you can reset your pain threshold, until the once 8/10 headache becomes a manageable 1/10 headache, that has you listen and respond to your body’s everyday needs.

Further Reading: The Posture Doctor (Chapter 8 – What About My Pain?)

How to Fix Your Posture – Spinal Curves | Posture Doctor

If you have spent years trying to correct your posture with exercise programs and numerous approaches, but when you look in the mirror you see little change, then you may have a structural problem that requires a structural solution.

This common mistake may be the biggest reason why, you will never correct your posture …

One very common mistake people make when correcting their posture, is they use the wrong treatment approach. If you’ve been following my 7 Biggest Posture Mistakes series, you’ll recall that we distinguished structural problems from functional problems.

For the 10-20% of us whose bad posture has a structural cause (scoliosis, short leg, worn discs, reversed spinal curves for example), the appropriate treatment approach must also be structural. In other words, a structural problem, needs a structural solution!

A functional or generic treatment approach (exercise classes, personal training, muscle strengthening) can never take altered spinal curves and straighten them out. It doesn’t matter how gifted your practitioner, therapist or exercise guru is, if the structure of the spine is not understood, and specific traction and/or mirror image rehab exercises applied, you will never get the results that you want.



If you have a structural problem, you need someone who is qualified to understand the structure of the spine and has hopefully spent many years measuring and interpreting posture from the study of spinal x-rays. A mechanic may be very gifted at recognizing problems from the external sounds your car is making, but they would NEVER give you a diagnosis or ‘treat’ your car, without first studying what is underneath the hood!

If you have spent years trying to correct your posture with exercise programs and numerous approaches, but when you look in the mirror you see little change, then you may have a structural problem that requires a structural solution.

Where do you think the structural problems are in your spine and what makes you think that?

Understanding the REAL Cause of Poor Posture | Posture Doctor

Have you been everywhere and tried everything to correct your posture, but when you look in the mirror you see little, if any difference?

Have you been everywhere and tried everything to correct your posture, but when you look in the mirror you see little, if any difference?

A common mistake people make when trying to correct their posture is not understanding the real cause of poor posture. Many have tried several types of treatment and various exercise regimes in the past, but when they look in the mirror, they see little if any change. Does that sound familiar? If it does, then you may have a structural posture issue.

Further Reading: The 7 Biggest Posture Mistakes

A structural problem requires a structural solution. The problem is, most gym trainers and exercise classes that claim to correct your posture, use only a functional approach. A functional approach works really well for someone who has very good body symmetry. In other words your left and right sides are mirror images of each other and there are no obvious imbalances. Functional exercise programs work well as general rehabilitation for those with good body symmetry but not for the 10% of you who fail to see results, time and time again!

You may go along to a Pilates class where everyone is given the same functional exercises. You may go to see a personal trainer, and you’d be given functional exercises for weak core muscles or maybe to build overall strength, but again these exercises are generic. These generic exercises have nothing to do with the structure of your spine, and won’t help the 10% of you who have structural issues.



When you receive a tailored structural exercise program to correct your posture, you will likely receive a program of exercises – many of which, you have never seen. These mirror-image-exercises are designed to fit the altered shapes and asymmetry in your body – when the left side does not match the right side and your spinal curves have been altered.

A structural approach uses mathematics and physics to interpret your posture. Few practitioners and very few trainers and teachers are trained, qualified or even interested in using a structural approach because it takes much longer to train and should involve years of university-level-study in radiology.

For those of you who have tried many different approaches and still look in the mirror and see unattractive posture, consider you may have a structural posture problem. Once you receive a structural diagnosis, you can begin a tailored exercise program and it is then, and only then, that you are likely to be rewarded with real results – upright, attractive, youthful posture for life!

Can Losing Weight Improve My Posture | Posture Doctor

Swayback posture develops when the abdominal weight overpowers the weak stabilizing muscles in the lower back. Slouchback posture follows, when the weight of a heavy chest rounds us forward.

“It’s true, the scale can only give you a numerical reflection of your relationship with gravity. It cannot measure beauty, talent, purpose, life force, possibility, strength, or love. Don’t give the scale more power than it has earned. Get off the scale and live your life. You are beautiful!” Steve Maraboli

Health Risks


Being overweight is associated with so many different health risks that include – diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, metabolic syndrome, cancer, degenerative disc disease, osteoarthritis, fatty liver disease and sleeping and reproductive issues. Carrying excess body weight can also lead to poor posture.

Swayback posture develops when the abdominal weight overpowers the weak stabilizing muscles in the lower back. Slouchback posture follows, when the weight of a heavy chest rounds us forward. This rounding, slouched posture can lead to forward head, fatty neck hump, worn spinal discs and osteoarthritis.

It’s understandable that those who are overweight have real concerns about their posture, and wish to address these concerns with specific posture exercises. I have found that overweight posture pupils struggle to get the most out of their posture exercises and find it frustrating, when they fail to see significant change.

Most posture exercise programs involve movements that put gentle, but compressive loads on the joints – joints that are already under pressure due to excess body weight. It’s crucial that the weight comes down before putting more stress and strain onto the knees, hips, and spinal discs and joints.



For many posture pupils this will be a disappointing truth, but if the goal is to correct your posture and get results that can be maintained over time, I have found this approach, to be the best way forward.

If you put all efforts into improving nutritional lifestyle and take on an easy win, like fast-paced daily walking, (off piste – avoid pavement and get onto the grass, which is kind on joints and makes the heart work harder) you will bring down your weight faster. Once your weight is within 25 pounds of your ideal, your body will be ready to begin a tailored posture correction program and one that you can easily maintain, until you get real results – flexible, upright, confident posture that lasts a lifetime!

3 Essential Elements of a Healthy Lifestyle | Posture Doctor

Poor physical health may lead to pain (physical effect), depression (emotional effect), lost productivity (career effect) and eventual bankruptcy (financial effect) for 62.1% of Americans.

A US Study in The American Journal of Medicine found that 62.1% of all US bankruptcies are caused by medical illness.

With statistics like that, we can no longer rely on the simplicity of one cause, one effect – in other words, poor physical health (cause) may lead to pain (physical effect), depression (emotional effect), lost productivity (career effect) and eventual bankruptcy (financial effect) for 62.1% of Americans.

Well-being


In Tom Rath’s rather interesting book, Well-being, he points out that well-being isn’t only about being happy, wealthy or successful. He cautions those of us who are quick to buy programs to get rich or lose weight or sort out our love lives, because when these single-focus programs fail, we may wonder what went wrong.

Posture


When it comes to correcting our posture, we need a similar approach. If we are to truly apply the best formula for fixing our posture, we need an approach that addresses more than just our physical well-being. Although our physical lifestyles contribute largely to our body postures, it’s essential to address all elements of a healthy lifestyle, if we are to get real results and results that last.

Three essential elements of a healthy lifestyle


When I work with my posture pupils, I start with a very long eligibility questionnaire designed to identify areas that need more attention, as well as pointing out areas of strengths. I often find certain elements lacking in those pupils not satisfied with their health results to date; those who have been working at fixing their posture for a long time, with little or no results. I like to breakdown these healthy lifestyle elements into three essentials:

  1. Physical lifestyle
  2. Chemical lifestyle
  3. Emotion lifestyle

Physical Lifestyle


When most people think about their posture they focus on how they sit or stand, what chair or pillow they should buy, or the latest fitness fad to solve all their problems in less than a month. That’s certainly not the very best approach! The second biggest posture mistake, is forgetting your lifestyle! Physical lifestyle is very important, but it’s not everything.

The most effective way to address the physical causes of poor posture, is to make daily posture exercise a habit. When you create a healthy posture habit for life, you hard wire it into the brain, until it no longer feels like a chore. You would no more miss your daily Posturecise, than you would miss breakfast, having a shower or brushing your teeth. Creating a habit takes time; there is no quick fix, but if you do a little and often (ideally, every day) it’s a habit you can learn to love!



Chemical Lifestyle


Where do you live? By the sea or in a busy city? What kinds of things do you put on your skin? What kind of chemicals do you clean your house with? How much coffee or soda do you drink? How many pills do you pop? The chemistry of your body affects the workings of your body. Did you know that a highly acidic diet (meats, caffeine, alcohol, sugar, soda, wheat, sweeteners, juice) cause calcium to be leached from bone? This leaves your bony skeleton vulnerable as you age. Your chemical lifestyle may be just as important as your physical lifestyle when it comes to fixing your posture.

Emotional Lifestyle


Were you shy as a child? Did you develop shy posture? Do you not want to stand out – are you embarrassed by your posture? What kind of support network do you have? Do you live in a stressful environment? Do you have a supportive partner? Do you yell, or do you keep everything bottled up inside? Emotions matter and they matter a lot!

Amy Cuddy (Ted Talks) explains that just two minutes of power posing (think Wonder Woman) can boost testosterone levels. Increased levels of testosterone have been shown to lower the stress hormone cortisol and to have a direct correlation with our levels of success in life. Suddenly we have a lot more reason to get our emotions in check!

If you are tired of getting just average results when trying to correct your posture, maybe it is time to rethink your lifestyle. Good posture requires that you give attention to each of the three essential elements of a healthy lifestyle.

What one thing could you do today, to make a change in one of these areas of your life? Feel free to share what you’re taking on, in the comments section below.

Is It Too Late To Improve My Posture?

By the time many of us are 25, a process called sarcopenia will have already begun. Sarcopenia is the degenerative change of skeletal muscle mass and strength. The ideal age to begin our posture correction is when we are still growing.

Possibly the biggest mistake many of you will make when trying to correct your posture is leaving it too late – so don’t.

“Can it really be corrected? I am 31 and just realizing in the last year how bad it is from sitting at a computer for long hours … I feel like I look like one of those drawings of the evolution of man!! Ugh. I need to fix this but how long, realistically, would this take considering how long it likely took to get like this?”

Staring too late, is just one of the 7 Biggest Mistakes People Make Correcting Posture. How late is too late? By the time many of us are 25, a process called sarcopenia will have already begun. Sarcopenia is the degenerative change of skeletal muscle mass and strength. The ideal age to begin our posture correction is when we are still growing. But pain is the worlds biggest motivator – no pain, no problem right? Wrong!



By the time we have aches and pains, spinal stiffness, lost confidence and an unattractive body image, many of us will already have degenerative changes. If we begin to develop a healthy Posturecise habit before the signs and symptoms begin in later life, we have a much better chance of improving our long-term health outcomes and are more likely to get the kind of results that other people notice!

How long will it take to fix your posture? I’ll leave that detailed answer for another post, but be sure of this: The longer you leave it, the longer it will take to correct!

Start now – start today!