Tons of people talk about the importance of keeping a neutral posture, but if we boil it down: What’s the most important benefit of maintaining a neutral posture?
Glad you asked. The most important benefit of maintaining a neutral posture is lessening your risk of developing a musculoskeletal disorder (MSD). MSD can cause you a world of pain, and it’s worth knowing how to avoid it.
But, let’s face it: Modern society sets us up to have terrible posture.
Most days, we go from:
1) Looking at our phones from the moment we wake up in the morning
2) To sitting at work desks typing on our computers
3) To lounging on our comfy sofas watching the latest Apple TV show
So, between craning our necks forward to look at all those screens and sitting all day, your body’s natural posture can get pretty messed up.
Today, we’ll explore how to UN-mess-up your body by learning all about neutral posture. I’ll cover:
1) What Is Neutral Posture?
2) What Are the Benefits of Neutral Posture?
3) How to Have a Neutral Posture in All of Your Joints
4) Easy-to-Implement Daily Habits for a Neutral Posture
Let’s dive in.
What Is Neutral Posture?
When most of us hear “neutral posture,” we immediately think of our spine. But the spine is actually just part of the equation when it comes to having a neutral posture.
Let’s start with a basic definition.
Neutral posture: the natural, resting position of each joint
In other words, when you position the joints in your body to a place where there is the least amount of tension, this is neutral posture.
Less tension? Who wouldn’t want that?
But unfortunately, keeping a neutral posture is harder than it might sound. When your body is held in a position other than neutral, we call that awkward posture.
Usually, I say it never hurts to embrace a little awkwardness, but when it comes to your body, it literally hurts. And it can cause some long-term damage.
What’s the Most Important Benefit of Maintaining a Neutral Posture?
As we discussed, the most important benefit of maintaining a neutral posture is avoiding MSD. These soft-tissue injuries are caused by long-term or sudden exposure to repetitive:
- Awkward posture
MSD can impact your:
The scary part is: MSDs are often caused by work environments, but they result in someone not being able to perform their job well. The continued pain they cause has even been linked to the overuse of opioids. 
If that doesn’t scare you into a neutral posture, I don’t know what will!
That’s why I consider this the most important benefit of maintaining a neutral posture.
So now, let’s explore a few other benefits:
- Easier Breathing
- Better Blood Flow
- Improved Balance
- Reduced Risks of Health Problems
- Less Swelling
- More Comfort In Your Own Body
- Easier Sleeping
How to Have a Neutral Posture in All of Your Joints
Let’s take a look at how to keep a neutral posture and avoid awkward posture for each joint in your body–from head to toe!
1. Neutral Posture in Your Head & Neck
Check your posture right now as you read this article. Chances are–your neck is slightly craned forward as you look at either your mobile phone or your computer screen to look at the text.
But when it comes to maintaining a neutral posture for your head and neck, it takes some conscious effort.
How to Have a Neutral Posture in Your Head & Neck
1) Hold your head, so it is centered above your shoulders.
2) Don’t crane your neck forward or strain to bring it too far back.
What’s the Most Important Benefit of Maintaining a Neutral Posture in Your Head & Neck?
One study found that having a forward head posture can actually stop you from being able to breathe as well–causing expansion of the upper chest and contraction of the lower chest, which doesn't exactly lend itself to easy breathing. 
Also, headaches are a common symptom of people who strain their necks.  
2. Neutral Posture in Your Shoulders
If you’re anything like me, your shoulders hold a TON of tension and stress. And whenever I get a massage, they’re usually the MOST painful part.
How to Have a Neutral Posture in Your Shoulders
1) Let your shoulders sit in a relaxed position.
2) Avoid hunching them up, pulling them too far down, or straining to pull them forward or back.
What’s the Most Important Benefit of Maintaining a Neutral Posture in Your Shoulders?
Your shoulders have very natural padding, but when you hold an awkward posture and slouch, hunch, or strain your shoulders, you risk friction against that natural padding.
This can lead to pinched nerves or shoulder impingement syndrome.  
Check out our recommended posture routine for shoulder, neck, and head posture!
This Posture Routine Is Fixing My Shoulders & Neck
3. Neutral Posture in Your Back
This is the one we hear the most. Neutral spine is a position that’s usually a crucial part of the form for more exercises. What does that mean?
How to Have a Neutral Posture in Your Back
1) Position your body so that your back is upright.
2) When you do this, you’ll find that your back follows a natural S-shaped curve.
3) Your spine should not twist to the right or left.
4) Avoid bending your back forward or back at your hips.
What’s the Most Important Benefit of Maintaining a Neutral Posture in Your Back?
When you maintain a neutral spine when sitting and performing exercises and activities, it greatly reduces the risk of back pain and injuries, such as herniated disks, spinal imbalances, and back pain.
You can also avoid back pain associated with the posterior pelvic tilt–when your pelvis tilts backward into a “tail tucked” position, working against the natural S-curve shape of your spine. This can result in constantly nagging lower back pain.  
If you think you might have posterior pelvic tilt, check out the video below for a 4-step fix!
Posterior Pelvic Tilt (4-Step Fix!)
4. Neutral Posture in Your Arms & Wrists
We use our arms throughout the day to lift objects, type on a computer, text on our phones, or hug a loved one. Because of how much we use our arms, maintaining a neutral posture is super important!
How to Have a Neutral Posture in Your Arms & Wrists
1) Let your upper arms hang naturally from your shoulders, and rest them close to your torso.
2) Bend your elbows to a 90º-110º angle. Especially consider this when typing at a computer.
3) With your elbows bent, your forearms should naturally go straight out–with your thumbs up in the air.
4) Keep your wrists in line with the forearm, avoiding bending them awkwardly up, down, or to the side.
What’s the Most Important Benefit of Maintaining a Neutral Posture in Your Arms & Wrists?
When you bend your elbow too much by reaching up to type–or even holding your phone up close to your face–you can cause weakening of your ulnar nerve, which runs from the hand to the forearm.
Tendinitis can also result from keeping your wrist at an awkward angle. This is also called “texter’s thumb.”
If you think of keeping your arms and wrists at a right angle and in a neutral position, you minimize your risks for all of these injuries.  
5. Neutral Posture in Your Lower Body
We’ve all found ourselves slouching on the couch–or even crossing our legs when we sit. But the truth is, all of those positions might not set us up for the most painless life!
How to Have a Neutral Posture in Your Lower Body
1) Keep your knees level with or slightly lower than your hips.
2) Form a 90º-100º angle with your knees and hips.
3) Keep your feet flat on the floor.
1) Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
2) Your knees should be directly under your hips, and your feet should be in line directly below your knees.
What’s the Most Important Benefit of Maintaining a Neutral Posture in Your Lower Body?
Just like the rest of your body, maintaining a neutral posture in your lower body helps with blood flow and back pain prevention.
Easy-to-Implement Daily Habits for a Neutral Posture
Fix Your Texting Posture!
Neck pain, shoulder pain, and headaches are all causes of “texting posture.” (Also read more about Turtle Neck Syndrome.)
When we hold up our phones without support underneath our elbows, it causes our shoulder blades to become retracted in a way that leads to pain.
If you’re sitting on the couch and texting, propping pillows underneath your arms to support them and hold them in a neutral position will help alleviate the painful effects of constantly texting in an awkward posture. 
Make Your Work Station Ergonomic
Many clinicians consider sitting too long to be the “new smoking.”  That’s because everybody does it constantly. So many people have jobs that involve sitting and staring at a computer for hours.
Maintaining a neutral posture at work can be difficult, but the good news is: There are tons of corrections you can make to your workstation, so you put yourself in the best position for a neutral posture!
When working with documents, place them at the same level as your computer screen, and avoid working with documents that are on either side of you. This will help you avoid straining your back to either side as you work.
If you check the level of your computer on your desk, you may find that it’s a bit too low, causing your neck to strain forward to see the screen. An easy fix for this is a laptop stand!
Laptop stands will raise your computer screen up to eye level, encouraging a neutral position for your head and neck.
If you notice your headaches take a snooze after purchasing a laptop stand, you won’t be the only one!
Your keyboard should be positioned in a way that enables your elbows to remain at a 90º angle. Many times, the desk is too high, causing your elbows to bend at an exaggerated angle.
If you purchase a laptop stand, this problem will become worse, which is why I recommend a Bluetooth keyboard.
Connect a Bluetooth keyboard to your laptop, and you can keep this keyboard at a place where your elbows can bend in a neutral position to reach the keyboard.
Make sure your mouse is at the same level as your keyboard. You can consider purchasing an ergonomic mouse, which is designed to fit your hand and wrist much better than a regular mouse.
An ergonomic mouse will naturally encourage your forearm to take a neutral posture.
To avoid sitting for prolonged periods of time, I recommend getting a standing desk. I just recently purchased an adjustable standing desk, and I’ll never go back to regular desks again!
You can adjust the desk to be at any height that works for you in the moment. So, you can easily go from sitting to standing without having to change the room or desk.
If your office chair has a headrest, be sure it does not push your head too far forward. 
Check your seat height to make sure that your hips and knees can form a 90º angle.
The back of your chair should support the natural S-curve of your back–especially consider whether it supports your lower back!
Lower Back Pain Support
Let’s say you make all these changes to your workspace, but you’re still experiencing lower back pain.
We’ve all been there.
It could be that the muscles in your back are communicating something important to you: They need a good massage!
Trigger point therapy can relieve muscle tension and bring amazing relief to constantly nagging lower back pain.
That’s why we created the QL Claw, our very own at-home massage device.
It’s the only at-home massage device that:
- Eliminates pain-causing trigger points from all 5 muscles responsible for lower back pain.
- Provides full-muscle therapeutic lower-back massage right from your home.
- Releases knots and trigger points in your:
Check it out HERE!
What’s the Most Important Benefit of Maintaining a Neutral Posture? FAQs
What is a benefit of neutral posture?
Avoiding musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) is the most important benefit of maintaining a neutral posture.
Why is the neutral position important?
There are tons of benefits to maintaining a neutral position, such as: easier breathing, better blood flow, better balance, reduced risks of health problems, less swelling, more comfort in your own body, and easier sleeping.
What does maintaining a neutral posture mean?
Position yourself with your back upright in a natural S-curve position, keeping your neck and head centered over your shoulders.
How do you maintain a neutral posture?
I recommend making some additions to your workspace, such as an ergonomic mouse, a standing desk, a laptop stand, and a Bluetooth keyboard.
 Donnelly, Joseph M. Travell, Simons & Simons Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: the Trigger Point Manual. 3rd ed., Wolters Kluwer Health, 2019.