Simply speaking, posture is the position in which we hold our body when we sit, stand or move. There is a definite link between back pain and poor posture and this is more prominent in men in the age group 35 to 65.
Our spine comprises bones called vertebrae and these lie on top of one another. Small joints separate each vertebra, which facilitates the spine to move. Also, there are disks that perform the task of shock absorbers and protect the bones from rubbing into each other.
Effects of Poor Posture on your Spine As you Age
As we go through the process of aging, these disks shrink and wear away. This can allow the bones rub against one another and, as a result, we feel back pain. Also, the spaces around the spinal cord tend to narrow over a period of time.
This degeneration can put increasing pressure on the spinal nerves and the spinal cord, causing tremendous lower back pain. As we age, our bone mass also decreases and makes the vertebrae prone to fractures. Due to the decrease in bone mass, the joints where two vertebra meet may start to degenerate, which is commonly called spinal arthritis.
But studies have shown that nothing aggravates back pain more than poor posture and most of the people like us are aware of this.
Yet, we do not take proper care to practice good posture. As an example, we slump over our desk while working and this allows our back to curve and places our joints and muscles under great strain.Important to note here is that we may not feel the ill-effects immediately, after sitting with a poor posture for long hours.
But, over a period of time, the stress that poor postures exert on our spine, leads to anatomical changes ( as mentioned above) in our spine. This, in turn, can aggravate back pain by constriction of our nerves and blood vessels. Also, as middle-agedpeoplego on working harder, over a period of time- the tendon, joints and muscles tend to become sore.
On the other hand, when we follow good posture, the bones in our spine are aligned properly. When we sit straight, it provides us the much-needed muscle balance as our joints, ligaments and discs are protected if we sit in this posture.
It has also been observed that people experience immense strain on their lower backs, thanks to the occupations they are involved in. Middle-aged peoplewho sit at their office desk for long hours or stand for long during the course of their duties are more prone to back pain-due to their poor body posture.
How do you know that your back pain is caused by poor posture?
- When back pain becomes unbearable at certain times during the day.
- Pain reduces after changing positions while standing or sitting.
- Starting with your neck, the pain gradually moves down to the lower back
How to improve your body posture to reduce back pain?
A number of exercises and techniques are available which allow you to improve your body posture and helps reduce back pain.
The most useful techniques, actually, make you more conscious of your poor posture and you make efforts to improve them. It is recommended that you should perform these regularly if you are having to sit or stand for long hours every day.
Stretch the upper body
Face any corner of your room, stand with the arms raised and hands flat against the walls. Make sure that the elbows are at shoulder level. Now, have one foot in front of the other and bend the forward knee. Exhale as you lean your body forward, toward the corner. Hold the pause for at least 15 to 20 seconds, while keeping the chest and back straight.
Imagine a straight line
Just visualize or imagine a straight line passing through your body. Make sure that your ankles, shoulders, knees, hips and ears are in one vertical line. Stand tall, push the chest slightly upwards and be mindful of this positioning. As you perform all this, make sure to breathe normally and properly.
Squeeze the shoulder blades
While sitting straight in a chair, keep your hands on the thighs. Make sure to keep the shoulder down and your chin leveled. Now, pull the shoulders back ever so slowly and squeeze the shoulder blades together. Hold the pause for ten seconds and relax to normal. Repeat for five more times.
Change your posture
Keeping subtle changes in posture throughout the duration is an excellent strategy to avoid back pain. Such variations distribute the stress, that arises out of supporting your body weight, into many areas within your body – rather than converging it in the same places. It is important to take frequent breaks and move between positions. Move between alternative positions, if staying at one particular position aggravates your back pain.
From the above discussion, one thing is clear that -poor body posture,in spite of being a factor of back pain, is something you can always control.
In fact, awareness of your body posture and working towards improving it should be inculcated into your daily routine. We recommend that you should start doing this from today itself, in order to reduce the risk of back pain in future.
Jon enjoys supporting professionals and businesses to address the need for ergonomic solutions within the workplace to encourage positive posture.
He also understands that good seating needs to be accompanied by a healthy and active lifestyle where possible.
Meet Jon at SpineSmart to get more idea about Posture Office Chair.