I get a lot of patients asking if they should buy a posture vest to improve their posture and stop them slumping. My simple answer is NO. Not because I don’t want them spending their money elsewhere, but because I do not believe in the fundamental principles of how they work. Sure, they will hold your upper body in a more upright position whilst they are on, but when you take it off, you are still left with the same structural issues causing your body to slump. Furthermore, they will let your back muscles get weak because they are not required to work as much.
But the principle reason I advise against them is that they can cause problems. Consider the principle that your spine does not have any muscles to pull vertebra directly backwards. Muscles do run up and down your spine (extensors), but there are none that pull directly back. So if a vertebra gets pulled or pushed forward, it gets stuck there. This is what causes people’s body’s to slump in the majority of cases.
Now a posture vest aims to pull the shoulders back, but in doing so, it has to push stuff forward – simple mechanics. And pushing bones in the spine forward is a problem because your body cannot self-correct this. So you may be creating additional problems for your spine on top of the ones you already have that made you buy the product in the first place. At best it will transfer a problem somewhere else in your body.
A better way to address postural issues such as slumping is to get the vertebra in your spine adjusted into a more stable position so your body holds itself naturally upright. This is what we do with Advanced Biostructural Correction TM