- Constantly Reaching Forward
Constantly reaching forward contributes to poor posture because there is a constant impulse to the anterior chest wall, anterior shoulders, and neck muscles. As we reach forward, we tend to move our shoulders forward and slightly upward. Completing this motion also requires that we relax and unfurl the muscles in the posterior shoulder girdle to let the scapula move away from the spine.
In lifestyles that involve a great deal of reaching forward, people tend to develop excessively tight pectoralis and deltoid muscles. Secondary symptoms to tight pecs and deltoids can include tight muscles of the front of the neck and/or weakness and laxity in the muscles of the posterior shoulder girdle. This is often accompanied by neurological symptoms in the neck and arms or impingement in the shoulder socket with a loss of range of motion.
- Constantly Leaning Forward
Constantly leaning forward contributes to postural maladaptation. Leaning forward requires the little posterior spine muscles to carry your body weight. Depending on where you lean forward from will engage and maladapt different muscles.
If you lean forward with just your head, the head and neck muscles must respond to restrain the head from falling further forward. This is common in computer users.
If you lean forward at the hips, such as when you do the dishes, the low back muscles are required to constantly grip to prevent the body’s weight from falling forward. Additionally, the hip flexors work in a short tightened position, and together they singe the pelvis to create stability over time. This situation makes it more difficult to stand erect or use the hips’ full range of motion. Over time the pelvis will begin to harden, and there will be a limited range of contractions.
- Constantly Sleeping One Position
If one constantly sleeps in the position where a muscle is stretched and/or strained from supporting the weight of a falling head, it creates a chronic muscle tension pattern that can be painful. Secondly, sleeping in the set position where your body is not aligned correctly can create a situation where bones will be compressed against one another.
For instance, sleeping on your side can cause shoulder compression if it is held in an incorrect position with the body weight on top of it. Sleeping when your spine is flexed creates a compression between vertebrae that can become irritated and cause discomfort or pain. Our muscles and movement patterns often become constricted and distorted over time, making natural movement uncomfortable but some distorted patterns a bit more comfortable in the immediacy. However, when you sleep, these pressures are maintained for an extended period, and they can become irritating and inflammatory on their own.
- Unilateral Sport Demands
Common examples include baseball pitchers who pitch with one hand, golfers who primarily swing from one side, and quarterbacks who constantly throw with the same arm. When you perform unilateral movements, you create patterns that are repeated over years and years of activity and create a wear pattern resulting in excessive pressure on one side of the body and excessive laxity on the other side of the body.
- Traumatic Injury
Too many possibilities to possibly cover but if you got hurt badly or something broke that didn’t get proper treatment. It’s going to affect your posture.
- Climbing A Lot of Stairs
Some people live in excessively vertical environments. If you live on a high floor or on a hill and have to constantly walk up, these kinds of vertical climbing situations create excessive demand on the hip flexors to lift the knee up and forward. This repetitive hip flexion motion can cause the hip flexor muscles to get tighter, shorter and looser with time, resulting in a limitation for the hip extensor muscles to stabilize your pelvis. This imbalance causes excessive pull on the spine since the hip flexors force the spine forward. Climbing stairs is also a very short and repetitive action which means that any imbalance and dominance in the muscles will be quickly and deeply ingrained and over time tends to contribute to an anterior pelvic tilt and can progress into lumbar pain.
Stress contributes to postural distortion because stress is directly connected to the fear response. The fear response is to assume the fetal position. The fetal position is to be rounded forward in a ball. We tend to come into ourselves when we’re in stressful situations. This compounds an already forward-leaning tendency in most individuals. However, it is not uncommon to see massive postural maladaptations in people who have undergone extreme stress without any additional compounding factors.