Posture correctors, scam or good idea?
Slack, hunched shoulders… we have to admit, working from home hasn’t helped to improve our posture. Fortunately, posture correctors and other back straighteners are there to save our crooked backs… Or not, according to the experts.
Standing up straight is fine. It's good for the back. This is THE correct posture. Or, at least, that's what we've always heard. So when advertisements on social networks extol the merits of posture correctors capable of keeping us straight without effort, we are tempted to try.
Yet these products, often made of elastic straps that slip on like a vest to pull our shoulders back, are not recommended by medical professionals.
“C is simply a scam”, summarizes Alexis Léveillé, a physiotherapist who has taken a great interest in the issue.
“They are sold as miracle products, but it is not better than weight loss pills. It’s very overrated”, adds the president of Ostéopathie Québec, Bertrand Courtecuisse.
Contrary to what you can read on some sites that sell these products, you can hardly call an over-the-counter posture corrector a “medical device”. The College of Physicians also considers that it “would be preferable for these companies to use a term other than “medical”, because this word may suggest that this device could treat a disease”.
Vary the postures
But why such a clear-cut opinion? Well, because for 20 years, researchers have completely challenged the notion of “good posture”.
“The important thing is to have good mobility and good muscle tone,” explains Bertrand Courtecuisse. The problem is not the posture, but the sedentary lifestyle, the lack of physical activity.
Instead of allowing better mobility, posture correctors do just the opposite , emphasizes Alexis Léveillé. They restrict movement and place us in an upright posture, yes, but completely frozen.
“Of course, if people are in pain, we can advise them to avoid certain postures, concedes the physiotherapist. But, there is no one right posture that would work for everyone. The goal is to keep some variability.»
As you will have understood, the secret to good back health (and good health in general) is above all to move regularly. Bertrand Courtecuisse therefore suggests taking breaks and, why not, calling on an ergonomist to arrange your workspace as well as possible.
“Modular office equipment is a good start. They allow us to change posture often and are more adaptable to our needs,” he says.
But, according to Alexis Léveillé, another factor should not be overlooked: our mental health. “More than the environment, or mechanical issues, it is very often stress that is the number one cause of pain,” he explains. Something to think about.
To fight against a sedentary lifestyle and avoid back problems in particular, here is what experts suggest:
- Set an alarm to get up or change posture every 30 minutes
- Do micro workouts several times a day (for example 3 sessions of 10 minutes)
- Walking at least once a day