Can we improve posture in seniors? Posture is important in both seniors and the elderly as it helps in balance. Changes in posture can cause falls and have other disastrous consequences.
Some other frequently asked questions are “Does poor posture occur in all seniors?”. “What causes posture changes?”
Many articles discuss the corrective measures that can be used to return good posture but generally do not refer to the factors which which cause the condition. This article attempts to bridge this gap.
Table of Contents
What is Good Posture?
To better understand good posture, we must first define poor posture.
Wikipedia defines poor posture to occur from certain muscles tightening or shortening in the proximity of the spinal cord, while other muscles elongate and become weak.
This can sometimes occur while doing certain daily activities. This may lead to pain, injury, or other health problems.
Advancements in technology have contributed to the development of poor posture in both young and old.
This can lead to several health complications such as spinal dysfunction and joint degeneration.
By understanding the causes of bad posture and working to correct them early on, many of these posture-related conditions can be resolved.
The outcome? You unlock the simple mobility secret! Good posture helps in balance. while good balance will help you maintain your mobility ,
When Do Changes in Posture Occur?
Changes in posture typically creep up on many adults very quietly over the years. This is chiefly from prolonged and constant slouching whether from working long hours behind a desk at a 9-5 job, or simply due to bad habits.
Suddenly, one day you decide to stand up from your seated position but feel a deep ache in the lower back making it difficult to rapidly get up on your feet.
Invariably, you struggle and get to your feet, but to dampen that lower back ache you suddenly find yourself walking less sprightly with a slight forward leaning. Sound familiar?
Once initiated, this condition can progressively deteriorate into a constant complaint of a low-grade back ache. How can you address this and improve posture?
Fortunately there are posture correctors and back braces specially targeted to correct and improve posture before the condition deteriorates. Knowing those products that are helpful in improving posture in seniors important.
Improving Posture in Seniors – Common Changes in Posture
Muscles in the neck, back and shoulder control how the body maintains posture.
Slumping of the shoulders arise from activities requiring the body to look down and or forward for long periods of time due to disruption of how these muscles normally operate.
Personal habits such as excessive texting (“text neck”) and the rounding of the shoulders are easily recognizable evidence of poor posture.
Many of our regular day-to-day activities such as driving a vehicle, use of the computer, laptop, smartphone or tablet can contribute to rounded shoulders.
Other activities include long periods of sitting, frequently carrying heavy objects throughout the day or even repeatedly bending over.
Rounded shoulders, aside from possible health implications are also not very pleasing to the eyes.
If the cause remains untreated, the body and the associated muscle adapt to this hunched condition over time.
This creates increased stress on the shoulder joints resulting in pain around the neck and upper back.
This is a condition that should be corrected as quickly as possible because the longer it remains untreated, the more painful the corrective process will be, simply because you are trying to return habituated muscles back to their natural state.
Checklist of Common Causes of Poor Posture in Seniors
Want to know whether you are at a higher risk of developing poor posture? Answer YES or NO to each of the categories
1. Age, Weight and Poor Nutrition
Age – Are you over 50 years of age? As a result of changes in bone density and thinning of the discs between the vertebrae in the spine, body stature may become shorter while the curvature of the back vertebrae may gradually be altered.
By the early 40’s the average adult starts to lose 1-2 inches in height over time. This presents as the stooping posture or gait we observe in many seniors and the elderly (See a previous article – Changes in the Body with Age – Avoid Surprise).
Weight – Do you have extra weight around the midsection? This extra weight can add stress to the lower back by drawing the pelvis forward causing a non-alignment of the spine.
Similarly, women with larger breasts carry extra weight in their chest causing them to tilt forward.
Poor Nutrition – Do you regularly eat a diet suited to provide a senior’s body all its daily nutritional requirements?
A deficient nutrition can affect bone strength and muscles in the musculoskeletal system which lead to changes in the ability of the body to hold itself in an upright position.
2. Factors Related to Lifestyle and Bad Habits
Sitting at Desk – Do you or did you work at a job that required you to be behind a desk most of the day? On average, people are sitting at their desk jobs with their neck and head forward and shoulders hunched for 7-9 hours a day.
Sitting on a non-ergonomic chair with an improperly setup desk – including poor monitor height and infrequent or no breaks can contribute to poor posture.
Technology – Do you own a smartphone or tablet? Use of technological devices cause us to bend down over our devices sometimes for 2-4 hours per day.
This creates pressure on the spine contributing to poor posture.
Acquired Habit – Do you have the bad habit of slouching when sitting or standing?
As children many are corrected against doing this, but, once it becomes a bad habit, it is difficult to reverse as you grow into adulthood.
Heavy Bags – Do you sometimes sling a heavy backpack or bag around one shoulder? This can cause the disproportionate shift of weight to one side resulting in strain to the neck muscles in addition to low-back pain.
Fashion as a Cause of Poor Posture
Are you a fashionista? Just because you are a senior is no reason to not be fashionable if you so desire, but there are some fashion pieces that can cause poor posture.
- High Heels: Do you regularly wear high-heeled shoes? Seniors that wear high heels (myself included) typically do so because it creates a professional and smart appearance – and, many have been accustomed to wearing them for most of their working lives.
- However, seniors should generally wear moderately high-heeled shoes – as long as they feel comfortable and safe in them.
- It should be noted that high heels tend to push the body’s center of gravity forward, causing a non-alignment of the hips and spine.
This places additional strain on the lower back especially, knees, ankles and feet.
Certain poorly fitting high heels cause the feet to slide forward in them, further compounding the strain on the back as the body tries to compensate balance.
Wearing insoles may be helpful in some instances.
- Flats / Flip flops: Do you regularly wear completely flat fitting shoes, slip-ons or flip-flops? These generally do not provide correct support and can be quite straining on the back.
- Worn Out Shoes: Do you wear a pair of shoes “forever” just because you find them so comfortable” This can have quite painful consequences. Shoes with worn out soles could affect the way you walk, causing back pain and poor posture. See a previous article: Foot Pain in Seniors – Can Be Agonizing.
- Incorrectly Fitting Bra – Are your bras the correct size and are they correctly fitting? Incorrectly fitting bras can affect spinal curvature of the spine causing upper back problems such as hunching.
- Sitting on Your Wallet – Do you stuff your bulky wallet in your back pocket? Remove any unnecessary cards, receipts, and pieces of paper immediately! Sitting on your wallet can lead to misalignment of the spine and possible sciatic problems due to twisting of the pelvis.
Prevention and Treatment
You must consult your healthcare professional to get a medical opinion especially in the case of lower back pain as this could indicate the presence of more serious conditions.
How to Improve Posture in Old Age – Correction is Required
Rounded shoulders can be corrected by a wide range of solutions. These include massage, workstation redesign (if caused by working conditions), exercise, holistic therapies, a visit to the Chiropractor, Pilates and the use of posture correctors and posture bras for women.
A summary comparison is provided for six popular posture correctors in the table below. Check them out.
How to Improve Posture in Old Age – Maintenance is Required
Once corrected, it is imperative that good posture continues to be maintained to prevent the return of the condition. Take a look at some popular rounded shoulders / humpback correctors available in the marketplace.
Although posture correctors are not specifically designed for seniors, they are designed and fitted differently for men and women.
Seniors should look for posture correctors that are not heavy, and do not pinch into the skin. So, taking your measurement and ordering the right size is key.
Metamorphosis Hub provides you with a quick roundup comparison below.
Improve Posture in Seniors – A Roundup Review of Top-Rated Posture Correctors That Work
Posture is a habit, and just as the body was trained to have poor posture, it must be trained to keep good posture throughout the day – every day.
Get started today and commit to wearing a posture corrector for the recommended time each day to experience a difference.
While there is a wide range of posture correctors to choose from, it is important to choose carefully.
This round-up review provides a quick comparison of the top consumer rated posture correctors. It also discusses the UPWALKER Mobility Rollator which provides many of the benefits of a posture corrector for seniors and the elderly with additional requirements.
OPTP Posture Support Corrector – Improve Posture in Seniors in Upper Back and Neck
- The Posture Support Corrector is designed for individuals with rounded shoulders and/or forward head posture to help with improving posture in seniors in the upper back and neck.
- Pulls the shoulders back into the neutral position to properly align the spine.
- Designed to wear under clothes, this posture corrector has an adjustable strap design for a comfortable fit. It is constructed of nylon and Lycra® with crisscrossed reinforced elastic bands and a front hook closure.
- Machine washable.
- Sizes – Small, Medium, Medium Large and Extra Large. If you are between sizes, the larger of the two sizes will typically fit more comfortably while still providing support. For women, the chest measurement should match bra size.
- Adjustable upper back straightener posture corrector and Providing Pain Relief from Neck, Shoulder, and Upper Back
- Fits S-M (27″-37″)
- Vicorrect back straightener posture corrector is designed to relieve chest hunchback, neck, and back pain caused by long-term work and looking down at mobile phone and computer. This back brace is especially suitable for people with a slight hunchback, people with bowed heads, long-term desk workers, and office workers. Can help improve posture in seniors
- Made from high-quality lightweight and breathable materials which offer an extensive range of adjustments to provide a comfortable custom fit
- Can be easily worn under or over clothes
- Material – 90% polyester , 10% nylon , PVC
- Color – Beige
- Posture Corrector For Men And Women – Adjustable Upper Back Brace, Upper Spine Support- Neck, Shoulder, Clavicle and Back Pain Relief-Breathable
- INVISIBLE UNDER CLOTHES-No need to feel self-conscious about wearing a posture brace. The latex-free adjustable design is discreet enough to wear under your shirt or blouse.
- Relieves backache, shoulder soreness, neck pain, clavicle ache
- Material – Durable Neoprene
- Neoprene is a material that can withstand daily, heavy-duty use without tearing or wearing out. When paired with high-end stitching, the brace delivers unparalleled resilience. Remains silky soft to the touch, breathable, without ever getting uncomfortable or irritating the skin.
- Color – Black
UPWALKER LifeWalker Mobility – Innovative Upright Folding Rolling Walker
- The UPWalker addresses the deficiencies of conventional walkers, including fall risk, slouching, and lack of user confidence and comfort.
- Designed for everyday use outdoors, in a spacious home, or living facility. It is not designed for narrow or limited spaces. If your home has doors or walkways that are too narrow, it may be difficult to maneuver the UPWalker
- Preliminary clinical studies revealed improvement in walking, posture & stability, as well as reduced pain in legs, back, hands, wrists, and joints.
- Check our comprehensive article review in a separate post to determine if the UPWalker is the right posture corrector mobility aid for you
- Sit-to-Stand Handles
- Adjustable Height Armrests
- Lockable Brakes
- Comfortable Seat
- Large Multi-terrain wheels
- Foldable Design
MODVEL Back Brace – Back Pain, Herniated Disc, Sciatica, Scoliosis | FSA or HSA eligible | Breathable Waist Lumbar Lower Back Support Belt with Removable Pad
- Proudly designed in California USA
- Orthopedic design to correct posture. Unique design targets lower back, giving it the support it needs to stay properly aligned.
- It is a strong back brace with pain relief in mind that allows you to enjoy the activities you love
- Relieves back pain in the lumbar spine and comes with extra removable lumbar pads
- 4 flexible steel stays
- Provides all day comfort and can help improve posture in seniors.
- Comes in Small, Medium, Large, XXLarge and Plus sizes
- Very popular
- Color – Black
NEO-MEDINA TECH Back Brace – Lumbar Support Black Belt – Posture Corrector
- Magnetic Therapy; application of Nanotechnology
- Prevents spasm. Ideal for degenerative conditions, Arthritis Pain Relief, Scoliosis
- Reduces inflammation and swelling;
- Boosts immune system and metabolism.
- DO NOT WEAR any magnetic products- if you have a pacemaker, automatic defibrillator, insulin pump, drug delivery patch, or are pregnant
- Measure Yourself Around Waist at ‘Bellybutton Height’ – Fits 34″ (86cm) to 40″ (102cm).” Therapeutic. A1. Safe. Drug-Free
- Material – 60% Neoprene, 20% Nylon, 10% Elastic Cotton, 10% Velcro
- Color – Black
- Comfortable Upper Back Brace for Clavicle Support, Adjustable Back Straightener
- Provides Pain Relief from Neck, Back & Shoulder
- Reduces upper and lower back pain, neck pain, and collar bone pain
- Recover mobility and strengthen the muscles
- Adjustable & easy to use. Fits chest size from 28″ to 43″
- Material – high-quality fabric, which is lightweight but strong, soft, breathable, and washable material.
- Color – Black
- Closure – Hook and loop
Conclusion – Improving Posture in Seniors
Now, a quick final check of how to improve posture in seniors.
As you finish reading this article, in what position is your body? Are you slouched on your chair or sofa?
Stand in front of a mirror and observe the side view of your back. Do you notice a slight hunching? If the answer to either of these questions is. “Yes” then it is time for you to improve your posture.
“Prevention is better than cure” says the adage. As always, it is recommended you discuss with your doctor especially if you are in the more advanced stages of rounded / hunchback shoulders.
Do you know of other causes of poor posture you have personally observed in yourself or other seniors? Leave a comment below to start a discussion on how to improve posture in old age.
- Poor Balance in Seniors – Why Oh Why?
- Changes in the Body with Age – Avoid Surprise
- Foot Pain in Seniors – Can Be Agonizing
Jon Johnson (2017) Ways to fix rounded shoulders or ‘mom posture’ https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318556#Diagnosis
Ann Asher (2019) What Causes Bad Posture? https://www.verywellhealth.com/posture-fixes-what-are-you-up-against-297037