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Cell phones and long office chairs have made it harder than ever to maintain good posture. But what is "bad" posture and how do you know if you need to work on it?
First, "good" posture occurs when the muscles of the body hold the skeleton in a stable and energy efficient position. Over time, factors such as daily habits, exercise, and even shoe choice can affect your posture. Poor posture can be genetic or caused by trauma, or simply the force of gravity acting on your body when you constantly perform movements that do not support the body's natural alignment.
Since posture is all about the strength of the skeletal muscles, the best solution is to train those muscles so that they can hold your body in its natural position. While you have to do this work, you can use posture correctors to help your body return to its natural position.
"It's impossible to maintain correct shoulder and neck posture if the core muscles are weak [and] it's difficult to retract the shoulders if the chest muscles are tight," explains Susan Eby , MD, of Eby's physical therapist in New York. "Posture devices [should] be part of a program to achieve optimal posture," he suggests.
We have researched dozens of posture correctors and rated them based on reviews, materials, fit, wearing comfort, size, and comfort level. Each of the posture correctors selected in this article was rated the best of these factors. We also ran a full testing review of the Evoke Pro A300 posture corrector and a review of the ITA-MED TLSO-250 posture corrector.
If you're ready to stop slouching, this is our pick of the best posture correctors on the market today.
If you're looking for a discreet posture corrector that won't interfere with your daily activities, the original Upright GO Posture Trainer (see on Amazon ) is a great solution. But if back pain treatment is the driving force behind your decision, the Back Support Posture Corrector (see on Amazon ) will give you support and alignment so you can get on with your day without interfering with the pain.
Ideally, choosing a posture corrector will be part of a larger therapeutic puzzle in treating your poor posture and any symptoms you experience as a result. It is a good idea to consult your doctor before putting it on.
What to look for a posture corrector
It sounds obvious, but you should buy a posture corrector that you can actually use . This ease of use is dependent on several different factors, including weight, adjustability, and practicality.
When considering the use of the device, Dr. Gbolahan Okubadejo , MD, FAAOS, a board certified spine specialist and orthopedic surgeon based in New York / New Jersey, recommends asking yourself a number of questions to narrow down your options:
- Can the posture corrector be worn under clothing?
- Heavy feeling in the body? Is it bulky or uncomfortable under the arms?
- Is the device regulated? What happens if you lose or gain weight?
- Does it really support you? (If you have a muscular body, a light or fragile device may not be strong enough.)
'If you buy a product that is too bulky, limited or unregulated, you are likely to leave it in your closet, ”warns Dr. Okubadejo. "If you can't use it, all benefits will be lost."
Correction and positioning
According to Ebi, your posture corrector should encourage active correction, not passive positioning. What does this mean? Let's go back to the previous point when we said that you need to retrain your body in order to position yourself correctly . This means that your muscles must be tuning and aligning, not the device; you need something to remind you to correct your own posture, not a device to force or hold you in a certain position.
Since the different styles of posture correctors are designed to address specific types of incorrect postures (more on this below), you should spend some time looking at your weak points before resorting to a specific posture corrector.
- Are you hunched over in your lower or upper back?
- Are you leaning over the keyboard with your chest and shoulders?
- Where do you notice your posture deteriorating the most, at the table or in the chair?
"Knowing these details will help in the decision-making process [because] you have a better understanding of which product can meet your needs," says Dr. Okubadejo.
Physical therapy needs
Keep in mind that posture corrector alone is not usually enough to correct chronic problems; most people benefit from these devices when used in conjunction with physical therapy treatments . Good posture depends on strong, flexible muscles, not an external device, Ebi says.
Posture devices can be part of your posture training program, but it should also strengthen core muscles that are essential for good posture.
If you find yourself constantly searching for a posture corrector after several weeks of use, or if you don't experience any particular changes after trying it, consult a physical therapist or other healthcare professional. You may need a full evaluation or treatment plan to fix the root of your problem.
Frequently asked questions
If you use it correctly, posture correctors will not harm you in any way, but that does not mean that they are completely safe. They are not a permanent solution to chronic problems.
"Posture bracelets are generally safe, but overuse of the device can cause atrophy," says Dr. Okubadejo, "when the muscles get used to the support of the device and become weak from not using it."
It depends on your device (some can be used longer than others), as well as your familiarity with the device itself.
"The general rule of thumb for these devices is to start with 15-20 minutes a day and add more time, 30 minutes to an hour a day, until your body gets used to its correct position," explains Dr. Okubadejo.
"Posture correctors are often recommended for patients with mild cases of misalignment," says Dr. Okubadejo; In other words, if you have general headaches, back or neck pain, or your posture is noticeably slouched, a posture corrector can help you retrain your muscles to make them healthier.
However, if you have more serious concerns or feel that you need a personalized evaluation to determine which device to use, it is best to consult your doctor before purchasing the device yourself.
What the experts say
"A product that tightens the back to align without leaving room for muscle training in an ergonomically correct position can, in some cases, lead to device dependence or worse, atrophy of the muscles that are supposed to do the job. job". – Dr. Gbolahan Okubadejo, MD, FAAOS, Board Certified Orthopedic and Spinal Surgeon based in New York / New Jersey
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