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Flat Back

Flat back posture is when your lower back flattens out, losing the curve in your spine and tipping your pelvis backward. 

Common Signs & Symptoms

Your back is flat and your pelvis is tilted backwards. This will usually be accompanied by:

  • Short hamstrings (the muscles at the back of your thighs)
  • Tight lower stomach muscles
  • Weak thighs, back muscles and flat buttocks
  • Your shoulders are rounded and your chin pokes forward
  • You lock your knees back when you stand
  • Bending back can be painful and stiff
  • Worse from sitting for long periods

Description

Flat back posture is when your lower back flattens out, losing the curve in your spine and tipping your pelvis backward. This posture changes the way your muscles work throughout your spine, causing you to stoop forward and poke your chin out. Flat back posture affects up to 70% of people and is the most common posture today.

People with a flat back will often find it uncomfortable or painful to stand upright for long periods of time. It often starts with sitting for long periods of time which causes your buttock muscles to weaken and flatten. You might also suffer from tight muscle in your core (muscles in the middle of your body) and hamstrings, and weakness in your leg and pelvis muscles.

When you stand, a flat back posture can increase the stress and strain on the discs and joints in your lower back. Your joints will usually stiffen and tighten into the flat back position which can make it difficult to change your posture.

Advice & Treatment

Exercises to reduce the effects of a flat back posture are aimed at:

  • Improving the flexibility of your joints
  • Regaining control of your core (stomach and back) muscles
  • Lengthening out your spine

It’s very important to be aware of the way that you stand – imagine being a puppet pulled up by a string. Changing poor habits such as the way you stand such as hanging on your hip and locking your knees back, can make this posture worse so stopping these habits takes away many of your daily stresses.

Squeezing your buttock muscles together when stand will help your body wake up the connections to your muscles which improves your muscle memory. This encourages your muscles to work at times when you’re not even thinking about it.

Good standing posture:
Changing the way you stand will help you to improve your posture. Just imagine a string attached to the top of your head pulling you towards the ceiling and lengthening out your spine.

  • Drop your chin downwards (like a nod forward)
  • Let your shoulders drop back and down
  • Lift your chest bone up and forward
  • Squeeze your buttocks together
  • Keep your feet about hip distance apart
  • Balance your weight evenly between both feet
  • Keep your knees soft (the opposite of locked back)
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