Oh posture! It’s that thing we all know we need to focus on a bit more but bad habits, a sedentary lifestyle, our work environment and even genetics sometimes get in the way. Last month was National Posture Awareness Month – and I shared the importance of good neck posture for avoiding negative health effects. But the neck is only one aspect of posture – improving your back posture in the upper and middle back, or thoracic spine, is equally important.
The most common problem with posture of the thoracic spine is increased kyphosis, or “hunching.” The thoracic spine should be shaped like a “C” with the inside of the curve facing the front of the body and the arch of the curve going from the middle of the back toward the upper back. As this curve increases, a person will go from being slouched to severely hunched forward over time. Hyperkyphosis can restrict breathing and actually reduce heart and lung function, impacting life expectancy.