What Is A Swayback Posture?
Swayback posture is a common posture dysfunction in which a person is found standing in the following way(1)
- Hip and pelvis tilted forward
- This forward shift of the pelvis causes an exaggerated inward curve in the lumbar spine that is known as lordosis.
- It also causes an exaggerated outward curve in the upper back that is called kyphosis
This swayback posture can put a person at risk of developing back and hip injuries. It also contributes to the musculoskeletal injuries of the neck and shoulder as they are put into a compromised position.
Pregnant females and obese people who carry their weight in abdomen have a higher risk of swayback posture, as the weight in the abdomen pulls the pelvis forward.(3)
What Causes Swayback Posture?
The main cause of swayback posture is tight hamstrings and back muscles, weak abdominal muscles and laxity in the ligaments of the back and pelvis.
Being sedentary for long can tighten these muscles making them stiff and weak.
Also, a poor posture for an extended period may turn off the glutes and abdominals, which are the stabilizing muscles. If these muscles are not activated, it can lead to weakness and can be a cause of swayback posture.
Other Contributing Factors For Swayback Posture Are:
Hip Problems: Developmental problem in the ball and socket joint of the hip, can lead to restriction and lead to posture problems.
Discitis: It is the inflammation of the disc between the vertebrae. It occurs due to an autoimmune disorder or bacterial infection.
Spine Abnormalities: Certain conditions such as Scheuermann’s kyphosis can lead to a range of motion limitations due to abnormal growth of the vertebrae.
Spondylolisthesis: In this condition, one of the vertebrae slips forward from the vertebrae beneath it. It can lead to persistent pain in the lower back.
Traumatic Injury: Traumatic injuries such as sports or motor injury can cause permanent damage to the spine and restrict the range of motion.
Neuromuscular Condition: Sometimes people with neuromuscular conditions and muscular dystrophy, exhibit a swayback posture.
Treatment For Swayback Posture
Lengthening of tight muscles such as hip muscles and hamstrings can help to strengthen the weak muscles. This can help only if there is no medical condition present. Knowing the cause can help with the treatment process.
This is why before starting any treatment, a proper assessment by a physical therapist or a trained professional is important. A physical therapist can assess and tell specifically which muscle needs stretching and strengthening.
Those with obesity, losing weight around the waist can help to prevent the exaggerated curve in the lower back.
For those with sedentary jobs can take frequent breaks from the sitting posture or use standing desks for a part of the day.
Exercises That Can Help With Swayback Posture
Three exercises can help in strengthening the weak muscles responsible for causing swayback posture.
Plank—An Effective Exercise for Swayback Posture
Plank helps in strengthening the abdominal muscles, glutes, shoulder, and upper back.
To perform the exercise:
- Lie with facedown on a yoga mat
- Push yourself up on your toes and palm, your body being in a straight line from head to ankles.
- You can start with a low plank in which you lift your body on the forearm instead of straightening your arms all the way.
- Keep the abdomen and glutes braced as you hold the position
- Hold in for 30 seconds and increase the time as you get stronger.
Glutes Bridge Exercise for Swayback Posture
This exercise helps in strengthening the core muscles and glutes.
To perform the exercise:
- Lie on your back with the knees bent at 900 and the arms flat on the ground by your side. Turn the feet out slightly.
- Lift the hips by squeezing the glutes and pushing the feet onto the ground.
- Make sure there is a straight line from knees to shoulder.
- Stay in the position for a couple of seconds and return to the starting posture.
- Do one or two sets of 15 repetitions.
Resistance Band Pull Apart
This exercise strengthens the muscles in the upper back and shoulder.
To do this exercise for Swayback Posture:
- Stand holding a resistance band tightly between the hands. Raise the hands in front of you parallel to the ground.
- Pull the band apart squeezing the shoulders together until the arms are stretched apart.
- Stay in the position for sometime before returning to the starting position.
- In the starting do two sets of 15 repetitions.
Swayback posture is a very common postural misalignment. People with type of posture often have lower back pain. See a doctor for a proper diagnosis and to improve the condition.