As a child I was told practice makes permanent—not perfect. In the case of posture, many of us have practiced habits and positions that now feel permanent, even though they aren’t the best positions for our neck, back, or internal organs. If you have been diagnosed by your physician with a pelvic organ prolapse, or commonly experience low back ache, pelvic pressure, or discomfort with standing, then practicing better posture becomes even more important.

Research has shown that a woman’s risk of prolapse increased 1.35 times with every additional degree of kyphosis, which is another word for the forward curve of our upper back1. Additionally, as prolapse advances, we have found women commonly have a posteriorly tilted pelvis, which looks to many like a flattened out curve in the lower back2. What this means to us as people who have to stand, sit, and move throughout the day, is that the position we hold our back in has a direct connection not only to spinal health, but internal organ health!

If you’re curious about the quality of your own posture, some questions to ask yourself include:

  • Am I holding muscle tension in my gluteal muscles (buttocks) in sitting or standing?
    • This can create space between your spine and your pelvic bones that increases low back pain3. This also can flatten out the curve in your lower back, which as discussed is linked to pelvic organ prolapse. If you find tension here, try to let it go!
  • Am I using tension in my lower abdominals to support my low back?
    • This is different than the “hold it in” or “suck it in” we were told to do as children, this is about gently using your abdominals to pull your belly button toward your spine as you breathe out. This activates a muscle called the transverse abdominis, which wraps around your abdominal cavity and low back, supporting your organs and your low back like a natural corset or piece of flexible armor.

After checking in with your posture, if you’re not sure of what you found, or how to fix it, physical rehabilitation might be a smart choice for you. Therapists are trained to provide more specific advice and exercises for your posture and how it relates to pelvic organ prolapse, in order to help you achieve the whole body health benefits that come from practicing good posture until it becomes a permanent positive habit!

By Catherine White, PT, DPT


Sources Cited

  1.  Lind, L. R., Lucente, V., & Kohn, N. (1996). Thoracic kyphosis and the prevalence of advanced uterine prolapse. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 87(4), 605-609.
  2. Nguyen, J. K., Lind, L. R., Choe, J. Y., McKindsey, F., Sinow, R., & Bhatia N. N. (2000). Lumbosacral spine and pelvic inlet changes associated with pelvic organ prolapse.
  3. Lee, D., & Lee, L.-J. (2011). The Pelvic Girdle: An Integration of Clinical Expertise and Research (4th ed.). Edinburgh: Elsevier, Ltd.