There are a lot of things that can cause your back to hurt, from accidents to conditions like arthritis, old injuries and more. And while many of these things can’t be avoided, there is one common cause of back pain that can – poor posture.
Maintaining proper posture is important because your spine is a complex structure made up of bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons and soft discs that all need to work together to support your upper body and neck.
When you use incorrect posture that doesn’t provide the ergonomic support your spine needs, it can put stress on areas that simply aren’t designed to handle it. Over time, these structures of the spine (particularly the soft tissues) can become weakened, injured and irritated, leading to pain and soreness.
Bad habits to avoid
When you mention posture, the first things that probably come to mind for most people are the things many of us heard as kids: stand up straight, sit up straight, and don’t slouch. And yes, you do want to do all three!
But there are plenty of other things that people get in the habit of doing that can cause them pain – either by putting them at risk for injury, causing strain over time, or both.
Here are a few poor posture habits that we’ve all probably been guilty of:
- Sitting in an office chair or couch in the same position for a long period of time
- Lying on your stomach while reading a book, using a laptop, etc.
- Sitting on a bed while using a laptop or mobile device
- Bending over for long periods while working
- Standing with your weight on one leg
- Walking while slouched or hunched over, leaving your head and neck unsupported
- Lifting heavy objects with your back instead of your legs
- Spending a lot of time looking at a screen, whether it’s a computer, TV, or mobile device like a phone or tablet
If you’ve done any of these, especially for long periods of time, you might have noticed some stiffness, soreness, and pain in your back and neck. Some of these can even cause pain, numbness and tingling in other parts of the body like your arms, hands, legs and feet.
This is because spinal cord that runs up the center of the spine is responsible for transmitting signals responsible for sensation to and from all the different parts of the body. And when there’s stress on the spine, it can disrupt these signals and cause symptoms like pain, numbness, tingling in the extremities – especially down the buttocks and legs, a condition known as sciatica.
What can you do to improve poor posture?
- Walk and sit with your back straight
- Don’t spend too much time sitting or standing in one position
- Support your lower back with a pillow while sitting
- Take plenty of breaks from sitting to get up and walk around
- If your feet don’t reach the ground, use a footrest
- When lifting something, lift with your legs and not your back
Remember that both good habits and bad ones usually develop over a lifetime, and it will take some time and awareness to get the hang of doing things differently.
It’s important to listen to your body. If something hurts, like your legs, neck, or back, take note of what you’re doing and try to avoid it in the future.
Quantum Pain & Sports Medicine can help
If you’ve tried some of the above tips but you’re still in pain, we advise you to make an appointment with us. At Quantum Pain and Sports Medicine, our pain management specialists want to help. They’ll diagnose the cause of your pain and work with you to identify any habits you can change to reduce or eliminate it, as well as prevent more pain in the future.
Call 469.913.6136 or contact us to learn more today.