When you stand up straight, does it feel natural? Are you often slumped over your desk, allowing your back to curve? If so, you’re most certainly not alone — in fact, most people are aware that they have bad posture.
Although we do not often take much notice, those who experience lower back pain, should be more aware of their body. The truth is, both standing and sitting place pressure on the lower back. Even though standing exerts approximately five times more pressure than lying down, it’s believed that sitting is even more strenuous. Is poor posture causing your lower back pain?
Researchers Believe Poor Posture Contributes to Lower Back Pain
When you practice good posture, the bones of your spine are properly aligned. When you’re slouched over, however, your muscles and joints are placed under greater strain. Working harder than normal, muscles, tendons, and joints in the lower back become sore.
Within one study, published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science, researchers were interested in three sitting postures and their effects on muscle activity and discomfort. When leaning forward, there was the greatest lower back discomfort. Sitting straight provided the most muscle balance, as the discs, joints, and ligaments were protected.
Within another 2015 study, published in the European Spine Journal, there was a direct association between lower back pain and poor posture amongst high school students. Bad posture was linked to watching television, playing video games, and using computers. Those who were often sitting in a slumped position, had a 50 percent increase in chronic lower back pain.
The link between poor posture and lower back pain has been documented time and time again, focusing on anything from associated neck pain to spinal degeneration. It’s critical to be aware of your posture so that you can make beneficial changes. You can improve your posture and reduce related back pain — here’s how.
Improve Your Posture to Reduce Pain
There are a number of occupations that place immense strain on the lower back. Those who sit or stand for long hours, tend to experience increased pain due to poor posture. While studying nurses in a 2012 study, which was published in the Journal of Clinical Nursing, teaching proper body posture was a main goal.
Total, 124 nurses with lower back pain were randomly assigned to the experimental group — those who received education and ergonomics training. Over the course of 12 months, both body posture and pain intensity ratings were observed and recorded.
As expected, those who improved their posture experienced a significant reduction in pain intensity, in comparison to the control group. Researchers concluded that the greatest benefits are achieved by improving posture, while utilising active physical therapy methods, more specifically, a back school program.
There are a number of techniques and exercises available, helping you become more conscious of poor posture. As recommended by Harvard Medical School, here are three exercises to help you reduce back pain. It’s recommended that you perform these exercises daily, especially if you’re sitting for a number of hours each day.
- Imagery — Visualise a straight line running through your body. Your ears, hips, knees, shoulders and ankles should all line-up vertically. Be aware of your positioning, standing tall with your chest pushed slightly upwards. As you do so, make sure that you’re breathing properly.
- Upper-body stretch — Facing a corner, stand with your arms raised and your hands flat against the walls, ensuring that your elbows are at shoulder height. With one foot in front of the other, bend your forward knee, exhaling as you lean your body toward the corner. Maintain a straight back and chest, holding for 20 to 30 seconds.
- Shoulder blade squeeze — Sitting up straight in a chair, rest your hands on your thighs. Ensure that your shoulders are down and that your chin is level. Slowly pull your shoulders back and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold for five seconds, relax, and repeat.
Poor posture is a factor of acute lower back pain that is within your control. Although it may seem unnatural at first, working towards better posture is something that should be implemented into your daily routine. Actively work towards better posture today to reduce your risk of lower back pain in the future.
To fix your posture and lower back pain, call 94448729 to book an appointment today