Back pain isn’t caused by sitting or standing wrong, a group of physical therapists recently clarified in a journal article. We often talk about posture as if it were a thing we need to perform correctly, but that’s not what the evidence on back pain actually tells us.
— Peter O'Sullivan (@PeteOSullivanPT) August 1, 2019
In fact, they say, it’s normal for posture to change from person to person, and it’s safe to slouch if that’s what’s comfortable for you. Rather than trying to keep one “correct” posture, you may be best off moving around as much as possible, staying active and changing position as needed. Sitting isn’t necessarily bad for you, but avoiding exercise probably is.
The myth-busting extends to fitness, too: lifting things doesn’t always require a textbook-perfect neutral spine. The authors write: “Preferred lifting styles are influenced by the naturally varying spinal curvatures, and advice to adopt a specific posture or to brace the core is not evidence based.” (Bracing your core may help you lift more weight, but that’s a whole nother discussion.)
The advice in their paper is meant mainly for other health professionals, so it doesn’t count as specific medical advice for you and me. If you have a concern about your own health, seek appropriate professional help. But it’s good to remember that everyday tasks like sitting and lifting aren’t inherently danger-prone.