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29th Feb 2024

Is slouching actually bad for us? Here’s what the experts say

Anna Martin

Do you remember being told to stop slouching?

We were always told that slouching was bad for our health and that it would somehow damage our spines beyond repair.

Our parents weren’t exactly right when they issued us with stern warnings as new research has come out.

Dr Chris McCarthy, a Harley Street consultant and researcher at Manchester Metropolitan University, says there is no evidence behind this.

Have you been eyeing up those standing desks that are all over TikTok? Well, you may want to reconsider that purchase.

Credit: Getty

“Our spines aren’t going to be damaged by a bit of sitting down, even if we happen to be wiggling our fingers on a keyboard at the same time,” Dr McCarthy explained to the Daily Mail.

“Prolonged standing is no more comfortable for the spine than prolonged sitting. There’s a pretty good reason why slouching doesn’t damage our spines, and that is because our spines are designed to allow movements as diverse as Olympic weightlifting to limbo dancing.

“If you experience back or neck pain, you can rest assured that the posture you adopt when walking or sitting probably isn’t to blame as much as you might have been led to believe. 

“Instead, it’s probably related more to other features of life – such as how stressed or physically active you are and if you have previously had back pain,” he added.

In the past two decades, there have been a plethora of rigorous clinical studies conducted that have concluded that there’s no relationship between slouching and spinal pain.

There’s also no evidence that people who slouch are more likely to suffer from back or neck pain compared to non-slouchers.

On top of this (just in case that wasn’t enough) there is also no clear evidence that slouching while sitting at your desk or while using your phone causes damage to the spine.

Even the UK government’s latest guidance on working with screens puts less emphasis on an idealised posture at the workstation.

You don’t need to sit like a royal princess anymore, but focus on a position that makes you comfortable and make sure to vary it.

So, if you’re a sloucher, rest assured that it isn’t really bad for you and is as good as any other posture you adopt. Comfortable postures are safe and sitting is not dangerous.