What’s causing your back pain? Is it poor posture
If you haven’t had an accident or picked particularly heavy weight before the back pain episode, chances are that it is caused by prolonged poor or bad posture. You could get rid of lower back pain and back injury by following good posture best practices. Understand why and how posture affects your back.
We often hear that good posture is essential for good health. We tend to actually recognize poor posture only when we see it formed as a result of bad habits carried out over years and evident in many adults. But only few people have a real grasp of the importance and necessity of good posture.
What is posture?
Posture is the position in which we hold our bodies while standing, sitting, or lying down. Good posture is the correct alignment of body parts supported by the right amount of muscle tension against gravity. Without posture and the muscles that control it, we would simply fall to the ground. Normally, we do not consciously maintain normal posture. Instead, certain muscles do it for us, and we don't even have to think about it. While the ligaments help to hold the skeleton together, these postural muscles, when functioning properly, prevent the forces of gravity from pushing us over forward. Postural muscles also maintain our posture and balance during movement.
Why is good posture important?
Good posture helps us stand, walk, sit, and lie in positions that place the least strain on supporting muscles and ligaments during movement and weight-bearing activities.
To maintain proper posture, you need to have adequate muscle flexibility and strength, normal joint motion in the spine and other body regions, as well as efficient postural muscles that are balanced on both sides of the spine. In addition, you must recognize your postural habits at home and in the workplace and work to correct them, if necessary.
Consequences of poor posture:
Poor posture can lead to excessive strain on our postural muscles and may even cause them to relax, when held in certain positions for long periods of time. For example, you can typically see this in people who bend forward at the waist for a prolonged time in the workplace. Their postural muscles are more prone to injury and back pain. If you fall asleep in a chair and your head is unsupported, when you wake, your neck may feel sore. That is because the muscles and joints have been under strain and they are complaining. The same thing happens if you sit in a poor posture, for example in front of the computer, TV or at the wheel of a car, or walk in a stooped posture.
Several factors contribute to poor posture - most commonly :
- Obesity (read more about Obesity and back pain)
- Weak postural muscles
- Unusually tight muscles, and
- High-heeled shoes
- Decreased flexibility / heavy sitting
- Poor work environment : Incorrect working posture, and unhealthy sitting and standing habits also contribute to poor body positioning.
What happens to your body with bad posture?
Forward head posture – For example; while using mobiles. This creates strain on the neck, shortening the muscles in the back of the neck. Neck pain, radiating pain to the shoulders or arms, chronic headaches, and even low back pain can result.
Mid-back slouching –For example; while driving. This can change the shape of your ribs and drive your head forward over time. The result can be pain in the mid-back and problems with your neck. Eventually, compression of your lungs, heart, and digestive system can occur, causing internal problems.
Low back - Low back pain is very common with poor posture. The back muscles have to contract excessively to keep you upright, causing you pain. Bad posture also causes abnormal wear and tear on the low back, increasing the risk of arthritis in the spine.
Hips and legs –For example; while driving, watching television or a movie in a theatre. With sitting for prolonged periods, the hip joints lose range of motion and the muscles in the front of the hips stiffen. These tightened muscles then pull on the low back, causing low back pain. Read more about Wallet and buttock pain
Walking – Your center of gravity changes with bad posture, causing your balance to decline. In addition, weakness to the hip muscles with prolonged sitting causes problems with walking. All these changes can have a serious impact on your mobility and ability to walk safely
Can I correct my poor posture?
YES. Your posture is never so bad that it cannot be corrected.
However, remember that long-standing postural problems will typically take longer to address than short-lived ones, as often the joints have adapted to your long-standing poor posture. Conscious awareness of your own posture and knowing what posture is correct will help you consciously correct yourself. With much practice, the correct posture for standing, sitting, and lying down will gradually replace your old posture. This, in turn, will help you move toward a better and healthier body position.
Your physiotherapist can assist you with proper posture, including recommending exercises to strengthen your core postural muscles. He or she can also assist you with choosing proper postures during your activities, helping reduce your risk of injury.
Posture refers to keeping the bones in the back in their natural curves. Normally the backbones are shaped in an ‘S’ with 3 natural curves. When you have proper posture, you reduce the risk of back pain. This will help you to breathe better and have more energy.
At ReLiva, we want you to stay pain-free and get back to participating in the activities you enjoy as fast as possible. Get relief. Call +91 992099 1584 to speak to us today so we can connect you with a physiotherapy specialist in your area.
This article is contributed by Dr. Swapnaja Joshi (PT). Dr Swapnaja is a Masters in Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy. She is very popular among her patients for her positive demeanor and effective treatment. She can be found at one of the ReLiva clinics.