When you think about posture, you often think to sit up straight at your desk. A lot more goes into posture than just sitting up straight. Our everyday lives are focused on computers, tablets, laptops, televisions and mobile devices. This can lead to postural changes including rounded shoulders, forward head, slouched/slumped posture. These changes usually occur gradually over time but then lead to more strain on our muscles, ligaments and tendons. The sooner we catch and address postural changes, the better!

Potential Injuries

Rounded shoulders

Rounded shoulders are when your arms start to round inward toward your chest. Contributing factors may be tightness in your pectoralis muscles, decreased strength or endurance of your postural muscles such as your mid trapezius or rhomboids. If it isn’t treatment, rounded shoulders can put you at risk for shoulder impingement, rotator cuff tears, bicep tendonopathies and more. PT can help stretch out your pectoralis muscles, strengthend and build endurance in your postural muscles and realignment your shoulder with your body.

Forward head

For every inch that your head is forward, it can add 10 pounds of pressure on your neck!
A forward head posture is usually exacerbated by computer work or handheld electronics. This is when the lower neck flexes, or come forward. To counteract the position this lower neck flexion puts the head in, the upper neck extends. The upper neck extension can lead to tightness in your suboccipital muscles at the base of your skull and can cause headaches that wrap up and around your head.


Scoliosis is a curvature of the spine. Most commonly in the thoracic spine, or mid back, a scoliosis can be in a C curve, an S curve and/or have a rotational component. If a scoliosis isn’t identified and treated, it can lead to changes in rib shape and affect lung expansion for breathing. While severe scoliosis may require surgical intervention and/or bracing, PT can help with mild scoliosis by stretching out the muscles that are tight and strengthening the muscles that are weaker/stretched out. Then PT can help to stabilize the area. Depending on the severity of the curve, PT may not be able to correct the scoliosis but may be able to help prevent it from worsening.


Kyphosis is a bowing out of the middle back, or thoracic spine. This condition usually worsens with age but can occur at any age. If addressed early, PT can be effective at strengthening the muscles and straightening the thoracic spine. A kyphosis can be “flexible” or “inflexible.” A flexible kyphosis is one that the PT can manually straighten with gentle pressure. An inflexible or rigid kyphosis is when the curve does not change with gentle pressure. Of the two, a flexible kyphosis is more likely to respond to PT better.

Posture and Balance

If you have a forward leaning posture, it can increase your risk for falls. In proper alignment, your head sits above your shoulders, which is supported by your thoracic and lumbar spine, which is supported by your pelvis and then down your legs. As we lean forward due to low back pain, forward head, kyphosis or other reasons, our center of mass (or how our body weight is distributed) shifts forward as well. This makes us more likely to lose our balance going forward and makes the muscles in our backs and down the back of our legs work harder to just stand upright. By focusing on posture and maintaining our center of mass over our feet, we can decrease the work that our body is doing to stand and move around.