For This Year’s Resolution: Fix Your Posture!

Potentially one of the most important things you can do for yourself to limit your spinal and neck pain is to improve you posture. Unsupported postures result in loads on your spine that cannot be correctly dispersed throughout your skeletal structure. This can potentially cause weakening in the muscular tissues of your lower back.

Weakening of these muscles can push the discs, joints and the ligaments that support them past their carrying tolerance causing both pain and long term damage. Indeed, an acute trauma or injury from lifting a heavy object with improper form can cause this type of misalignment and dysfunction immediately.

Here are a few of the most postures that can cause pain and the changes that you can make to correct them according to

  • 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

And these are just scratching the surface. Overall using any of these postures consistently is likely to result in spinal problems and back or neck pain. Worse, a sedentary lifestyle or a general lack of physical activity and motion can cause even more stress on your back and neck when you finally do move.

If your pain lines up with a new activity the logical idea is to stop that activity, but it may only be necessary to adjust your posture while you’re engaging in that activity.

Using an incorrect posture, whether consciously or not, (in fact being aware of your posture is a major part of the battle to correct it,) creates multiple areas of stress throughout your muscles, spinal joints, and discs. Here are the details on exactly how that pain occurs:

  • Hunching while standing or sitting for extended periods of time cause your back, core, and abdominal muscles to become strain and become inflamed, this reduces blood flow, and generates a slow onset of stiffness and/or weakness in the abdominal area and lower back.
  • If you sit in an unsupported position this places a minor forward flex on the spine. Over an extended period, this bend may place a structural load on the lumbar spinal discs, and could potentially cause herniation.

As warns, “An incorrect-lifting technique can cause your lumbar disc to herniate, causing it to refer pain in the lower back and/or radiate pain into your leg through a nearby spinal nerve.”

Working on a laptop or reading while lying on your belly can also cause your lower back and hip to bend backward excessively, and this position over time can shift your Wowlower spine.

So how can you correct these postural issues?

It’s fairly straight forward, and will probably give you flashbacks to your grandmother telling your to “stand up straight” or your grandfather telling you to “walk tall.” The old wisdom was right, ‘walking tall’ with your gaze straight ahead and your head balanced above a straight spine and relaxed shoulders is crucial! Landing on your heel with each step and rolling your foot forward to push off with the balls of your feet is also important. And loosen up! A stiff carriage is a sure way to hurt your spine. Your spine should rotate slightly with each step. This is accomplished with a gentle swing of the opposite arm with each step, this is a human’s natural gait so it should feel natural. You just might not be used to it if you’ve been doing it wrong for years.

Sit in a supported pose and make sure you get up at least hourly! This can be hard with the modern nature of work, but it’s extremely necessary. To avoid injury, you should keep your back flush against your chair and similar to a walking posture, keeping your head over your spine, shoulders rolled back and shoulder blades down. Keeping your arms bent at 75 too 90 degree angles is extremely important as well. Even keeping your feet firmly planted on the ground or a footrest with your legs hip-width apart is very helpful.

If none of this works for you, or if it just isn’t feasible and regrettably, you’re in pain: Find your nearest Summa Pain Care location in Peoria, Phoenix or North Scottsdale today and don’t put this off any longer. Unaddressed back and neck pain generally doesn’t improve. Call our Phoenix location at 623.580.4357 , you can reach Peoria at 623.776.8686 or contact us in North Scottsdale at 480.786.1771.

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