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Posture/Neutral Spine

  • Neutral spine is the correct alignment and posture for the spine
  • In its natural alignment the spine is not straight, it has backward curves in the thoracic (upper) region known as a kyphosis and forward curves in the lumbar (lower) regions, known as a lordosis, the cervical spine or neck also has a slight forward curve
  • In a neutral spine position the body is able to perform at its strongest, with minimal stress on the intervertebral discs and facet joints

Interesting facts

  • Poor posture is the most common cause of back and neck pain

What you can expect/look out for

  • The results of poor posture can be many and wide-spread
  • Poor thoracic and cervical posture can lead to neck pain and/or shoulder, elbow and wrist pathology
  • Poor lumbar posture can lead to low back, hip and knee pain or pathology
  • All this is reversible if you can practice good posture regularly throughout the day

Hints for self-management

  • Neutral spine in sitting
    • Feet flat on floor
    • Knees should be lower than hips
    • All 3 back curves should be present, this may mean you need a lumbar support cushion if sitting for a long time
    • Head position so that ear is in line with your shoulder
  • Neutral spine in standing
    • Feet hip width apart
    • Knees ‘soft’ with a micro-bend
    • All 3 back curves present
    • Head centred with ear over shoulder

Management options

  • Regular exercise such as walking helps to maintain and improve your spinal alignment
  • Exercise therapies such as Pilates and yoga can strengthen the muscles that hold your spinal posture
  • Your physiotherapist can teach you specific exercises to help to improve your posture

More information

  • Think about and practice good posture 10 times a day, if only for 20 secs each time, your body will slowly start to remember and stay in that position


At Sydney Sports and Orthopaedic Physiotherapy our highly qualified physiotherapists specialise in the assessment, treatment and prevention of neuromusculoskeletal injuries.



Contact us today – 9252 5770


This handout was prepared by Sydney Sports and Orthopaedic Physiotherapy and is intended as a general information service. Please note that the information provided is not intended as a substitute for advice from a registered physician or healthcare professional. If symptoms persist, please consult your doctor.

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