Postural Problems

The most commonly seen postural abnormalities include a forward head posture, rounded shoulders, an increased lower back curve, and flat feet. Postural problems can develop due to incorrect postures over a prolonged period of time, but can also be secondary to visual impairment, hearing loss, degenerative conditions, and central nervous system pathology. The issues mostly develop when the muscles become tight and weak and are unable to support the body correctly.

A child with postural problems.

What Are the Symptoms?

  • Discomfort or pain in the neck or back.
  • Tightness in the muscles, decreasing joint flexibility.
  • Corns and calluses developing due to increased pressure in certain areas of the foot. This could be due to abnormal foot posture or secondary to problems in the spine.

What Is the Role of Physiotherapy?

  • Provide exercises for improving flexibility and muscle strength.
  • Demonstrate correct patterns of movement while performing activities.
  • Relieve pain or discomfort.
  • Prevent further deterioration of posture.
  • Undertake an ergonomic assessment and advise on appropriate positioning of furniture and equipment in the work environment.

What You Can Do

  • Participate in regular physical activities or in sports.
  • Ensure that you sit upright with equal weight on both your hips. Avoid slouching or sliding forwards.
  • Ensure that you take equal weight on both your legs while standing.
  • It is advisable not to spend time in one position for more than 15 minutes.
  • It helps to evenly distribute the load you are carrying e.g. use a backpack as well as a handbag.
  • When lifting objects, always bend at the knees and not from the trunk.

What Are the Benefits?

  • Improvement in balance, agility, muscle strength, flexibility, and endurance.
  • Improvement in body posture.
  • A decreased risk of muscle sprains or injury during activities of daily living or sports.
  • An increased ability to concentrate on tasks.
  • Resolution of any pain or discomfort with an overall feeling of wellbeing.
  • An increased motivation for physical activities and improvement in quality of life.

What If It Is Left Untreated?

  • Poor posture can cause pain in other joints and muscles as they try to compensate. For example, pain in the heel may originate from asymmetry in the back.
  • Muscles can become tighter as well as weaker with growth.
  • Asymmetrical spinal posture can deteriorate from being flexible to becoming rigid with growth, meaning surgical intervention could be required for correction.
  • An increased risk of muscle sprain or injury during everyday activities, which in turn lowers confidence of participating in physical activities, affecting health in the long run.
  • Rounded shoulders might affect breathing as they can limit chest expansion.


Most of the postural problems can be easily resolved by adhering to the exercise programme and constantly adopting the correct postures while performing everyday activities. However, long-term postural problems can take a while to correct.

Contact us now, in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, for more information about the assistance our paediatric physiotherapy provides for children with postural problems.