Most people don’t realize that poor posture can cause lower back pain, but in fact, poor posture is one of the leading causes of lower back pain. This is because the lower back supports the majority of the body’s weight, i.e. the lower back is the workhorse of the back. Unfortunately too, most of us take our backs for granted until there is a serious problem. However, it is better to be proactive about lower back pain and remedy the situation before it gets really bad. Improving posture is one of the best ways to go about this.
Good posture is defined as the correct arrangement of the body and its limbs – it’s the you hold your body while standing, sitting or lying down. Good posture means holding the body in a way so as to minimize the strain on muscles and ligaments during the act of movement or weight bearing actions – whether you be standing, sitting, lying down, walking or lifting.
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Shock-absorbing Discs Can Be Damaged By Poor Posture
Just like the tires on your car, the shock-absorbing discs between your vertebrae will wear unevenly if your back is constantly out of alignment due to poor posture. Eventually, this will lead to your vertebrae not being properly insulated. This can cause the lumbar vertebrate in your lower back to grind into one another as you move which can of course cause severe pain. Damage to the discs can also lead to herniated discs and/or limited mobility in the lower back when the joints “freeze” up. The lower back often takes the worst of this type of damage compared to the rest of the back.
Poor Posture Also Causes Muscle Strain
If your spine is not properly aligned due to poor posture, your muscles, tendons, and ligaments will need to constantly compensate. Over time, especially if you are middle aged or older, this can cause muscle strain. The worse your posture is the more strain that will be put on your muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Therefore, even if you can’t obtain optimal posture, any improvement in your posture will likely improve your lower back pain.
The Natural Curvature Of the Spine Can Become Deformed With Bad Posture
As you have likely noticed, the spine is not straight. Rather, it is curved forward near the neck, backward in the upper back, and inward in the lower back. This natural curvature is a biomechanical marvel, with each of the curves on a properly aligned back balancing each other out. This evenly distributes the force of gravity and gives the human body more flexibility and agility. It also puts less strain on the backbone. Poor posture in any part of the back can throw the entire natural curvature of the spinal off balance. This is why a slump in the head and shoulders, i.e. rounded shoulders, can cause back pain in the lower back, although people often miss this connection. This connection explains why carrying a heavy satchel or purse over your shoulder for an extended time can cause lower back pain. It is also why carrying extra weight in your breasts can cause lower back pain.
Conclusion & Additional Advice
If you are experiencing lower back pain, you can start to correct this just by being more aware of your posture. Stand in front of a mirror as you normally would stand and check your posture. Ask a friend to give you honest feedback too. Do the same while siting in a chair. If you identify problems, look for posture strengthening exercises online or consult with a physical therapist that can work with you on posture rehabilitation. There are two very simple exercises you can start doing right away. First, you can squeeze your shoulder blades together, starting with ten at a time. Do this two to three times a day. Second, lift your shoulders and then roll them back and around toward your spine. Both of these exercises with help to strengthen your muscles making it easier for you to improve your posture. Strengthening your stomach muscles can also help take pressure off your lower back.
If you have children, it is important that you correct any poor posture habits they have while they are young. It is much easier to correct poor posture as a child than as an adult and you will be helping them to improve their health for the entire lifetime. Further, if you have another family member or friend who has poor posture, you may want to take them aside and privately explain to them how poor posture can cause lower back pain and get them started thinking about how to improve their posture. Posture can be improved as a therapy for back pain regardless of age.