The Myth of Perfect Posture

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When it comes to posture, we’ve been taught to strive for perfection. After all, good posture is often associated with poise, confidence, and better health. But the idea of perfect posture is a bit of a myth – one that can actually do more harm than good.

Our bodies aren’t symmetrical, and neither is our posture. In fact, even the most seemingly perfect body has asymmetrical features such as a heart commonly existing more toward the left of the center, the liver located more to the right of the center, and the right lung has 3 lobes compared to 2 on the left.

On top of this, there can be anatomical differences in the shape of our bones or joints. Not everyone has a right-nominate bone of the pelvis shaped exactly the same way as their left, for example.

Perfect Posture?

In terms of posture, It is very common that one shoulder might be slightly higher than the other or one leg might be slightly longer than the other. Many people, including myself, have a small scoliotic pattern in their spines or a slightly forward head posture compared to “textbook normal”.

Many people think that these represent imbalances in the way we move, will lead to compensations, and leave us at risk of injury. This can be true in some cases, but these shifts in our posture can often be there since birth and not pose significant physiological stress to us at all. Other times they can be the result of the completely normal imbalanced nature of our lives.


  • I write with my right hand, but I also use that hand more during most day-to-day activities such as washing or at the office (working as a chiropractor).
  • Most sports have an imbalanced nature: In soccer, we plant one leg to kick with the other, in hockey and golf we shoot left or right, in tennis, we mostly use one arm to serve, etc.
  • If you work as a dentist or dental hygienist you may find yourself working long hours on one side of a chair bent into a strange position.

The list could go on…

Trying to correct for these natural asymmetries and achieve perfect posture can put undue stress on our muscles and joints. It can even lead to chronic pain or injury or may interfere with your performance during sports or physical activity. This can also lead people to feel like they’re doing everything wrong or are falling apart when in fact they might be doing great.

perfect posture 1

Instead of striving for perfect posture, we should focus on developing good habits that support our unique bodies. Here are a few examples:

1. Find positions that feel natural

Instead of forcing your body into an unnatural position, stand or sit comfortably and let your body find its own balance.

2. Move throughout the day

Sitting or standing in one position for too long can put excessive pressure on certain joints and tissues. Take breaks throughout the day to stretch, stand up, and move your body. Change your work position as often as possible, aiming for small shifts in your posture every 30 minutes if possible. Click here to watch a video with good tips for this!

3. Adjust your work environment

If you spend a lot of time sitting at a desk, make sure your chair and computer screen are positioned in a way that allows you to maintain good posture without straining your neck or shoulders. A lumbar support cushion can also help keep your spine in a neutral position. Investing in a well designed chair that fits your height and leg length can be beneficial.

4. Work on your ability to move well

Strength training, mobility training, stretching, etc can help create better tissue health, but you don’t need to train for posture. Doing back exercises doesn’t mean those muscles will start pulling you into a better posture. It’s not how it works. Improvements in posture as a result of training are far more likely to be related to overall physiological health and not specific exercise selection. Try to train your body in a balanced way but there’s no need to avoid chest exercises and only do back exercises because someone told you it’s causing your shoulders to round. It is not that simple.

5. Use of manual therapy

Manual therapies, including chiropractic, have been promoted by some to correct posture, but this needs context. Therapies like chiropractic can be amazing for certain posture issues but others not so much. This will be the topic of a future post.


In conclusion, by letting go of the idea of perfect posture, we can develop a healthier, more natural relationship with our bodies. Embrace your natural asymmetries and work with your body, rather than against it. Your body will thank you.

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