18 May How Posture and Back Pain Are Related?
A while back we published a blog post discussing the relationship between poor posture and neck pain. The post helped a lot of people, but it didn’t go far enough. We decided to use this post to expand on the topic. It will discuss how posture and back pain are related.
When it comes to poor posture and the back, lumbar pain is the most often cited complaint. Regular readers of our blog know that the lumbar spine is essentially the lower back, beginning just below the last thoracic vertebrae and extending to the top of the sacral spine. If you are like most people, you have five vertebrae in this particular region.
There is a natural inward curve to the spine in the lumbar region. It is juxtaposed against the outward curve of the thoracic spine. For the record, this is all physics. The curvature of the spine is that which allows it to support body weight while still remaining strong and flexible.
Proper Posture and the Back
We doctors stress proper posture because it does wonders for back health. Proper posture guarantees that the spine is properly aligned. It also keeps the shoulders, hips, and knees aligned as well. When you’re standing, proper posture includes balancing your weight evenly on both feet and holding your head high. With your shoulders back and your chest out, the spine is properly balanced.
Most people demonstrate poor posture when standing. The shoulders are too far forward and the chest down and in. The good news is that poor standing posture is easy to correct with practice. A bigger problem is sitting posture.
All Day at a Desk
We have become a largely sedentary society in the 21st century. So many of us spend 8 to 10 hours every day sitting in front of a computer. When we are not working, we spend our time hunched over and looking down at our smartphones. It is a recipe for bad posture that leads to lumbar pain.
Poor sitting posture can also be rectified with a combination of practice and modifying your work environment. The practice portion is a matter of self-discipline. You just tell yourself to sit up properly and then you do it. As for modifying your work environment, consider the following when seated:
Your feet should be flat on the floor
Your knees should be slightly lower than your hips
The top of your computer screen should be level with your eyes
The monitor should be an arm’s length away from your body
Your forearms should rest on your desk; your mouse and keyboard should be within easy reach.
We recommend getting up and walking around for a few minutes every hour. We also recommend stretching exercises during your breaks. Combining proper posture with a little bit of exercise can do wonders for the lumbar spine.
When Posture Corrections Aren’t Enough
Correcting poor posture is all it takes for some people to alleviate lumbar pain. If you are suffering from lumbar pain despite doing everything you can to correct posture problems, there may be something else going on. We can help.
Upon rendering a diagnosis, Lone Star Pain doctors have a number of treatments to choose from. We might suggest a lumbar sympathetic block, for example. Medial branch blocks, facet joint injections, and other options are on the table.
If you are experiencing chronic lumbar pain, let’s talk. It could be that correcting poor posture is the solution. If not, we will get to the root of your problem and offer the most appropriate treatment we can.