So here we are, over two years after the first lockdown was announced during the Covid-19 Pandemic and many of us are still working from home or working in the new hybrid way of a return to the office for a couple of days and the rest of the time working from our homes. Whilst working from home has many benefits such as saving time and money with no travelling to work and flexibility to enable more of a work/life balance with possibly less stress, there can be a down-side to this more relaxed working style.

Many of the luckier employees or those running their own businesses have improved their workstations to allow a more ergonomically sound working posture but still many of us are working from laptops on the kitchen counter or sat at a dining table or even typing away whilst slouching on the sofa.

You may give little thought to your posture but developing bad postural habits can cause many imbalances in the body that not only affect your muscles and joints but can have knock-on effects to your overall health.

In our clinic we are seeing more and more cases of structural problems and associated issues which are becoming chronic if not dealt with by physical therapy and the correct advice.

Postural misalignment can be both inherited and developed says posture expert Ivana Daniell (author of A manual for a Contemporary Body). Some people are born with a structural misalignment which is often genetically inherited. Examples of this include scoliosis and kyphosis of the spine, knock knees and flat feet.

When bad posture is developmental it is usually related to lifestyle.

In both cases, this is where osteopathy and other manual therapies can help to prevent, re-educate and rectify these bad habits.

Daniell’s most common lifestyle risk factors for bad posture are:

  • A sedentary lifestyle
  • Weak core muscles
  • A lack of bodily awareness
  • Sitting at a desk and/or computer for long hours
  • An injury
  • After surgery or during post-surgical rehabilitation
  • Pregnancy
  • Carrying and lifting awkwardly – for example, children, school bags, groceries, working materials

“Over multiple national lockdowns, people have missed their daily routines, the commute to work, taking children to school and having a balanced social life that includes sport and activities. This move to a more sedentary lifestyle has had a very negative effect on our posture and our overall wellbeing, “ says Daniell.


  1. Lower Back Pain

When you sit for a prolonged period of time in a bending forward position (watching T.V. or working in your office) your shoulders are pushed forward but your lower back is straight. Thus, the muscles of the lumbar region of your spine are strained and you start feeling lower back pain.

  1. Subluxation

A vertical subluxation happens when your vertebral column is misaligned and has a bad impact on the overall integrity of the rest of the vertebral column. When this takes place, the subluxations leave a lot of stress on the back of a person. They also irritate the nerves present in the surrounding regions.

  1. Nerve Constriction

When the position of the bones and vertebral column is altered due to long term effects of poor posture, the skeletal system starts to come in touch with the surrounding nerves and causes the pinching of nerves. This pinching of the nerves causes back pain and neck pain, as well as pain in the areas of the body which are supplied by these nerves.

  1. Headaches

Poor alignment of your neck, shoulders, and back is a leading cause of neck pain and headache. A hunched posture exerts extra stress on the muscles of your neck to keep head in a straight position. Thus, muscles are strained and tense and you feel a headache.

  1. Foot Pain

The misalignment that comes from improper posture may have a bad impact on your feet. Bad posture causes you to suffer from foot pain. Proper alignment of the back may make this issue go away.

  1. Aches and Soreness

Adopting a slouching posture can cause muscle fatigue as muscles are stressed and have to work harder. Generalized body aches and soreness are the common side effects of bad posture that are often ignored but they can result in long term health problems.

Lumbar pain is commonly caused by bad posture because a lot of extra stress and strain is exerted to the lower part of the vertebral column when you have bad posture.

  1. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The nerves present in your cervical region control the motor function of your hands, wrists, arms, etc. Bad posture has a negative impact on these nerve roots, sometimes leading to nerve compression. If the nerves of the wrist impinge, this will result in carpal tunnel syndrome. Muscles become stiff and taut, and you may suffer from pain, numbness and tingling sensations.

  1. High Blood Pressure

When you slouch while standing or you slump while sitting, you may end up with high blood pressure, according to research undertaken at the University of Leeds.

The rounding of your back and the rolling movement of your shoulders have a negative impact on your breathing. There are also some receptors in the neck that have a negative effect on your blood pressure.

  1. Poor Blood Circulation

Poor body posture may lead to a compromised blood supply to various body parts. Sitting with one’s legs crossed is one example of bad posture that may affect blood supply. In this pose, the pressure of gases and fluids moving through our body is increased.

If you adopt this posture for a prolonged period of time, it can lead to spider veins on the lower extremities and lower back pain. Thus, it is recommended that you adopt a good posture when you stand up straight and sit up straight and have enough back support to do so.

  1. Enhanced Stress

The side effects of bad posture are increased mental and physical stress. When you suffer from physical stress on the body, it leads to body aches and soreness, and is further converted to mental stress.

According to a study, sitting in an upright posture may be a behavioural adaptation to help improve resilience to physical and mental stress. Poor posture also enhances the level of cortisol in the body and diminishes testosterone levels.

  1. Loss of Motivation

In some people, poor posture may be correlated with having less confidence, which in turn can be linked to lower motivation levels.

  1. Poor Digestion

Poor posture may also have consequences that include your digestive tract. When you are hunched over and in slouching position, your viscera bunch up together.

Thus, it becomes difficult for the body to properly digest the food. This can lead to constipation. It also has a harsh impact on your metabolism and in the end it affects your physiological body processes, potentially placing one at risk of developing life-threatening metabolic problems.

  1. Fatigue

When you adopt a poor posture, your body works harder to keep you in an upright position, and ultimately you’ll feel tiredness and fatigue.

  1. Sleep Problems

According to research, bad posture has a negative impact on your sleeping ability. The logic behind this is, we’ll not be able to relax completely if our muscular system is not aligned properly.

  1. Low Mood

Most of the people think that how one sits or stands is completely isolated from one’s mood. But the posture of a person, especially a good posture, actually plays a significant role in the mental status of the person. According to a study, the people who were habitual of sitting in a slumped posture, show more frequency of low mood, lower self-esteem and more fear than those who adopt a healthy upright posture.

  1. Workout Recovery Issues

Bad posture also has a negative effect on your recovery time and workout routine. Some muscles bear extra stress when you adopt poor posture and are thus fatigued early.

This causes you to suffer more pain after a workout because the body is irritated and shows an inflammatory response.


  1. Adopt good working posture

Maintaining a good working posture is vital. You should be able to sit or stand in a neutral body position with relaxed posture that requires no stressful angles or excessive reaching to complete tasks.

Office workers should sit with hands, wrists and forearms straight, in line and parallel to the floor. The head should be level and above the shoulders and in line with the body without turning to the left or the right.

  1. Adjustable chairs and desks

A combination of sitting and standing is recommended and if possible, a sit/stand desk is a good way to ensure proper positioning and to alleviate the strains of being in one position for too long.

The more positions a chair and desk can adjust to means that the furniture can be tailored to the specific needs of the individual.

Kneeling chairs or a balance ball are good, cheaper alternatives to expensive office chairs.

A foot rest whilst using a chair ensures that the knees are lifted and the pelvis is tilted backwards so that the spine remains in contact and supported by the backrest of the chair.

A gel wrist support can alleviate the strains on the wrist whilst using the computer mouse and help to prevent repetitive strain injury.

An adjustable document holder next to the screen can help to keep the head level.

If using a laptop, having a separate screen plugged in at eye level can also ensure that the head and shoulders are kept in good alignment.

  1. Set a timer

We can often find ourselves sat in the same position for hours if we are engrossed in our work or with the recent Covid-19 pandemic, be sat in back-to-back ZOOM meetings. Normally in an office environment we would have to move between office locations and at least have a change of position from meeting to meeting.

Setting a timer to remind us to get up after each hour is a good way to move our bodies, rehydrate, stretch our arms, legs and backs and rest our eyes from too much screen time.

  1. Environmental setting

Too much blue screen time can cause issues with our vision and cause headaches. Proper lighting can reduce the glare on computer screens and good lighting is important if we are reading. The correct room temperature and humidity is also important, so taking time to make sure that you are comfortable can help to reduce stress on the body. Airconditioning in offices has for a long time been a contentious issue, not only for being the vehicle for the passing of the office cold but also for drying out the environment and causing chills which can affect the joints, particularly the neck and shoulders.

  1. Getting help

Osteopaths and other manual therapists spend most of their professional lives helping people with issues generated from poor postural activities.

We are experts at not only treating these musculoskeletal problems but can offer advice on the correct ergonomic set up for your work and give you the best rehabilitation exercises to help you manage your problems and correct your posture.

Getting regular exercise that you are able to do depending upon your body’s abilities is crucial. It should be easy to do at home and not require expensive equipment. Osteopaths are good at advising patients on exercises that they can do with what they have at home and give them advice that is tailored to their needs.

Often patients only need one or two treatment sessions to get them on the right track and help them to manage their problems.

For advice or to book an appointment please call either Debbie Rogers or Caroline Baker at Marlow Osteopathic Clinic on (01628) 477466 or visit our website for more information and access to our booking form

Written by Debbie Rogers D.O.
Registered Osteopath
Marlow Osteopathic Clinic