Ways To Fix A Poor Posture
So now that you know a few ways that bad posture can cause back pain, lets look at a few ways that you can fix that posture.
Stand straight You will want to elongate your spine and stand with your head straight. Make sure your chin is tucked. When in the right posture, your ears should be over the middle of your shoulders. Your knees should be straight and your shoulders back. This is good posture and may take practice, but once you have it, you will be less likely to experience back pain.
Set Up Your Desk Right This includes having the right chair that has good lumbar support or that you can comfortably add a lumbar pillow too. You want your monitor to be lower than your head but not so much that you have to flex your neck to see it. The chair should be set where you can comfortably rest your arms on the desk but not where you are slumped over on them. Your feet should be able to sit flat on the ground with your legs at a 90-degree angle.
Sleep Right When you sleep, make sure you have a soft but not too soft mattress. This will ensure that the mattress can hold your spines natural shape. If you sleep on your side, you are going to want to sleep with your knees slightly bent and place a pillow between them so your neck and spine are aligned. Those who sleep on their back will want a thinner pillow they can place under their neck.
Pay Attention To Your Desk Setup
When you sit at your desk to work, hold your shoulders and arms at a 90-degree angle. Position your monitor straight ahead at eye level. Most people place it so theyre looking downward, but this greatly increases neck strain, notes Dr. Bang.
A 2014 study on text neck also called tech neck a problem caused by constantly looking down at your phone or tablet found that when you hold your head in line with your shoulders, it only weighs about 10 pounds.
But for every inch you tilt it forward, the amount of weight it places on your spine nearly doubles, Dr. Bang says.
Poor posture while standing prompts similar problems for your neck and back. If you have access to a standing desk at your office, thats a comforting option. But youll still need to be diligent about maintaining a good posture.
Keep your spine in a neutral position. Dont jut your butt backward or lean too far forward, cautions Dr. Bang. Standing in those positions can cause low back pain.
And, again, position your computer screen high enough to avoid looking downward.
Ways To Avoid Back Pain
If youâve been sidelined by a sore back, youâre not alone. Four out of five people experience back pain at some point, making it the second most common reason for visiting the doctor.
Back pain takes various forms, from a persistent dull ache to sudden sharp pain, and has many causes. Sometimes it results from a sprain, fracture, or other accidental injury. It can stem from a disease or medical condition, such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, or spinal stenosis . Many people develop back pain in part because theyâre overweight or sedentary.
The good news is that most lower back pain usually gets better within a few days or weeks, and surgery is rarely necessary. Whatâs more, simple self-help strategies such as these can be surprisingly effective at preventing back pain and keeping it from returning:
1. Get more exercise. If your back is hurting, you may think the best way to get relief is to limit exercise and to rest. A day or two of rest may help, but more than that may not help the pain. Experts now know that regular physical activity can help ease inflammation and muscle tension.
3. If you smoke, stop. Smoking restricts the flow of nutrient-containing blood to spinal discs, so smokers are especially vulnerable to back pain.
Read Also: How Much Advil For Back Pain
What Kind Of Pain Does Poor Posture Cause
The pain you experience when your back is positioned improperly isnât due to any broken bones or ligaments that are injured somehow. It is because your spine is not aligned correctly, and the muscles that help keep your spine aligned are being used in a fashion that puts stress on them.
If your spine is aligned correctly, then the muscles that move your spine will not have to work as hard, and they will be able to relax. It means that you will not feel the same kind of pain when you have poor posture.
Of course, it helps to understand what kind of pain does poor posture cause. If you keep your posture correct, then there shouldnât be that much pain involved at all. It would help if you started maintaining good posture, and this involves keeping your back straight and not tilting your neck or your head forward.
Your neck and back are the most used muscles when sitting, standing, and walking. Poor posture causes you to work those muscles hard, and it leads to pain. Learn how to keep your posture right so that you will have no back problems.
Hunched Back And ‘text Neck’
When hunching over a computer, your head may tend to lean forward, which can lead to poor posture. Using a mobile can cause similar problems dubbed “text neck”.
Upper back, neck and rear shoulder strengthening exercises, chest stretches and neck posture drills are recommended to help correct a hunched back.
Exercises to correct a hunched back:
- gently lengthening your neck upwards as you tuck in your chin
- seated rows in a gym or pull-ups
- chest stretches
You May Like: Does Aleve Help Lower Back Pain
Improve Your General Posture
- Remember the rule of curve reversal for example, if youve been leaning over your desk, stretch back the other way.
- Perform stretching exercises two or three times a week to boost muscle flexibility.
- Exercise regularly to improve muscle strength and tone.
- Stretch your neck muscles regularly by turning your head from one side to another.
- Your abdominal muscles support your lower back, so make sure they are in good condition. Do abdominal crunches rather than straight-backed sit-ups .
- Avoid standing on one foot for long periods of time.
- Cross your legs at the ankle, rather than the knee.
Poor Posture Goes Beyond Back Pain: How Sitting Straight Can Improve Your Health
If you woke up one day with back pain, youd assume something was wrong with your spine or its surrounding muscles. However, if you randomly develop a health problem like indigestion, one of the last places youd look for an answer is your spine. After all, what could your spine have to do with ailments in other parts of the body? As it turns out, the health of your spine and the way you hold it can have widespread impacts.
One thing we urge to our clients at Align Wellness Center in Northbrook, IL, is that posture plays a major role in overall wellness. By interrupting the connections between the brain and body and putting pressure on other body parts, poor posture is believed to cause a wide range of ailments. If youve spent too long in a slumped-over position or stand and walk with an imbalanced gait, its time to make some changes or else your health could suffer!
Also Check: Aleve For Lower Back Pain
Try This Quick Posture Check
When youre standing up, you should be able to imagine a straight line running from your ear through your shoulder, hip and knee to the middle of your ankle.
There are a number of simple ways in which you can help to improve your posture. While it may take some time and feel awkward at first to correct a posture that you are accustomed to, your back will thank you.
How Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine Can Help
If you have suffered an injury to your back, neck, shoulder, or another joint, or if you are living with chronic, debilitating pain, make an appointment with one of our offices today. We have the cutting-edge diagnostic equipment to get to the root of your problem, and a broad range of proven treatment options to relieve your pain. More than that, our physical therapists will take the time to show you how to correct your posture and improve your quality of life.
Also Check: How Does A Diuretic Help Back Pain
Bad Posture And Back Pain
If youre sitting hunched over for hours every day, it may be contributing to your chronic back pain.
A “hunched over” posture, also known as “forward head posture” or “upper crossed syndrome,” causes various muscles to shorten and become tight over time.
As a result, this can create excessive stress on various vertebrae in your back which may be a contributing cause of the back pain you feel.
How exactly does poor posture contribute to back pain? And more importantly, what can you do to fix it?
Sitting For Prolonged Periods Of Time
Knowing how you can easily deviate from the correct posture is the first step towards understanding the link between back pain and body posture. Many people have quite a sedentary lifestyle due to office jobs, and one of the main causes of back pain is sitting incorrectly for a long time.
Our bodies are made to be on the move, not to spend the whole day in your office chair. Most research, if not all, indicates that the average person in the US sits for approximately 10 hours each day.
This can easily result in back pain because, when we sit, the back muscles and abdominal muscles do not support our back as they are designed to. Most people that sit without any lumbar support can develop a loss of the lumbar lordosis .
This means that the weight from the upper body puts abnormal pressure on the intervertebral discs. How can this cause back pain, though?
The extra pressure on your muscles will make them become tired and overstretched. Repeating this unhealthy habit makes your muscles, in time, become weaker, stiffer, and more susceptible to pain.
Another reason why this bad posture leads to back pain is that sitting will decrease the blood circulation in your lower body. This means that your muscles will receive lower levels of oxygen.
Recommended Reading: How Much Advil For Back Pain
Common Ways Of How Poor Posture Can Result In Back Pain
1. Sitting for Extended Periods of Time
Posture thats created: Loss of Lumbar LordosisYour body is designed to be moving, but the reality is that many Americans spend far too much time sitting each day. Recent research suggests that the average adult in the United States sits for an average of 9 to 10 hours per day this equates to 65% of your waking hours spent in a sedentary position! Sitting for extended periods of time results in poor posture that can result in back pain.
When youre sitting, your intrinsic and extrinsic back muscles, and your abdominal muscles, are no longer working to support your lower back. Poor lumbar support while you are seated results in a loss of your normal lumbar lordosis and your upper body exerts pressure on the intervertebral discs of your lower back while they are in this compromised and unsupported position.
Why it causes pain:
Prolonged sitting causes the intrinsic and extrinsic muscles to become weaker and overstretched which can lead to muscle fatigue, stiffness and pain.
Shortened hip flexors become a major issue, in particular the psoas muscles, with extended sitting and a tight psoas muscle is a known risk factor for lower back pain.
The weight of the upper body on the intervertebral discs of the lower back, while they are unsupported, causes an uneven distribution of weight leaving you at risk of disc bulging.
2. Slouching While Seated
Recommended article: How To Fix Rounded Shoulders 5 Exercises
3. Leaning on One Leg
Is Poor Posture Causing Your Back Pain
Unsupported postures cause the loads on your spine to disperse incorrectly, weakening the tissues in your lower back. As a result, the intricate network of muscles, discs, and joints in your back tend to be pushed beyond their tolerable limit, causing pain.1,2,3 Likewise, a sudden injury from lifting a heavy object incorrectly can cause immediate back pain and dysfunction.
Here are the most common back postures that lead to pain and actions you can take to correct them.
Read Also: Does Aleve Help Lower Back Pain
Understanding The Correct Posture
Before we dive into what constitutes poor posture and how it can hurt you long-term, lets first discuss what the right type of posture is. Basically, correct posture means that the bones of your spine are lined up properly. There should be nothing jutting out.
When you practice proper posture, you alleviate the pressure on certain muscles and bones, resulting in them being less fatigued and enjoying better long-term health. Things You Do Every Day That Exhibit Poor Posture and Can Lead to Prolonged Back Pain
Move Around As Much As You Can
Whether you sit or stand at work, Dr. Bang recommends working in regular movement.
Take a short break and walk around about once every hour if you can. But even when youre stuck at your desk, you can vary your motion.
Your body loves variety, so dont allow your muscles to get too fatigued, he says. If you have a standing desk, you still need to move. Sway a bit, or step forward and backward for a while, throughout the day.
Recommended Reading: Aleve Lower Back Pain
Stop Listening To Back Pain Horror Stories
Stop listening to other peoples horror stories. You know the scenario: You are bent over in obvious pain, waiting to see the healthcare provider, and the person next to you tells you a 10-minute tale of how their Uncle Gordon had low back pain that required injections and surgery. But the pain still didnt go away.
Stop listening to these terrible stories. Most low back pain is short-lived and can be managed quite effectively with exercise and postural correction. Of course, some low back conditions are serious and require surgery, but that is a conversation you should have with your healthcare provider, not the guy in the waiting room.
Tips For Better Posture
When it comes to correcting your posture when walking or standing, it is important to try to keep your spine in natural alignment. To do so, your spine should be straight, your shoulders should be relaxed, and your head should be right above your spine. If you find yourself slouching, remind yourself to stand tall to return to this position.
Whether you’re working from home, or doing online learning, sitting for long periods can be an easy trap for poor posture. To prevent this from happening, be sure to get up at least once every hour to stretch and readjust your position in your seat.
Be Careful With Heavy Objects
When it comes to lifting heavy objects, many people make the mistake of lifting with their back. To prevent strain and injury, approach lifting heavy objects by bending your knees and keeping your back straight. You should also bring the object as close to your chest as possible when returning to the standing position.
You May Like: How To Help Back Pain From Standing All Day
Is Your Bad Posture Contributing To Your Back And Joint Pain
While telling our children to sit up straight may seem to be an old-fashioned command, good posture is important to maintaining pain-free flexibility and general well-being. Not only does poor posture contribute to back pain, but it can also negatively impact respiration, digestion, balance, and even psychological health.
At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, our doctors encounter many patients with back, neck, or shoulder pain that is exacerbated, if not caused, by poor posture. One of the goals of the physical therapy we offer is to teach those suffering from back pain about correct posture and ways of moving that will help protect them from future injuries.
Common Unsupported Postural Habits
Everyday activities typically involve a combination of actions, such as walking, sitting, standing, bending, lifting, and lying down. Common habits that you may develop while performing these actions include:
- Slouching or sitting slumped on your office chair or couch
- Lying on your belly on the bed while working on a laptop/reading a book
- Sitting on a bed and working on your laptop
- Hunching forward while weeding your garden or washing dishes for a long time
- Using your vacuum cleaner with one hand and long arm movements
- Standing with the weight of your body concentrated on one leg
- Walking in a hunched manner without supporting the head or the trunk
- Lifting heavy objects off the floor by bending your back
If you use one or more of these incorrect postures, it is likely that you will experience back pain. A sedentary lifestyle or lack of physical activity can cause more stress and pain to develop in your lower back region.
If your pain coincides with the start of a new job, use of a new office chair or car, subsides after switching positions, and/or is worse during certain times of the day, it is likely that poor posture may be the cause.
You May Like: Advil For Back Pain Dosage
How Do You Get Back Pain Due To Poor Posture
When the spine is straight, the weight of your body can be evenly distributed along each vertebrae. When the spine is curved, most of that weight is placed on a few vertebrae, generally in the lumbar region in the lower back . When you slouch, the muscles, tendons and joints in the lower back all have to work harder.
Some common ways you can get back pain due to poor posture include:
- Sitting for extended periods of time Prolonged sitting causes the intrinsic and extrinsic muscles to become weaker and overstretched as well as shortening hip flexors, interrupting blood circulation and uneven weight on your discs.
- Slouching while sitting Backwards rotation of the pelvis and flexion of the spine from the slouching posture results in a dorsal widening of the intervertebral disc at the L5-S1 level and places strain on the iliolumbar ligaments.
- Leaning on one leg Instead of your core muscles and buttocks maintaining a neutral standing position, excessive pressure is place on one hip, causing your abductor to overwork and your gluteal muscles to weaken. This leads to muscle imbalances in the pelvis, causing pain the lower back, hip, buttocks, neck and shoulder.
- Phone texting posture Constantly dropping your head to look at your phone places excessive strain on the muscles of your neck and strains the trapezius, changing the natural curvature of your spine.