Good Posture Helps Reduce Back Pain
Not all back problems are initiated by trauma, injury, disease or deterioration. One of the biggest reasons for non-specific back pain, and related discomfort or poor functionality, is incorrect posture. By not standing, sitting or moving in a way that enables the body to function at its optimum, we can unknowingly start a progression of pain or non-functionality throughout the body.
The silent source of body pain
Back problems can be one of the biggest issues affecting our body, and sometimes we don’t even know we have them. That, according to chiropractic practice, is because many or most problems, diseases and discomfort originate in spinal misalignment. And the problem can remain long after we no longer feel any pain in the back.
A vicious circle can be started, and what was initially back pain, can continue to affect other areas of the body for days, months and even years afterwards. Pressures formed on organs by misalignment, a distorted gait which in turn alters both balance and centre of gravity, and countless other reactions, follow the adaptations made by our bodies out of necessity. These may not immediately be evidenced by pain itself, but through influencing the functionality of the areas concerned.
In some instances, there is indeed pain, transferred to these other body parts during the process of changes introduced by the body to relieve the initial back pain. Our necks, hips, knees and feet can seem to be the source of our discomfort, and our reaction can be one of total surprise when learning it is the back that’s actually the source.
What is good posture?
Basically, good posture involves standing, sitting, walking or lying down in such a way that you put the least amount of strain on the spine, muscles, and ligaments in your body, and allow the back and neck to follow their natural curves, and joints to keep their natural positions.
Not everything in the body is straight, so the old adage of “standing up straight” being the correct thing to do, is not necessarily true. Both the neck and back have natural curves, which increase their strength and flexibility, and allow them to act as shock absorbers. Should the curves be altered, and especially on a regular basis, the balance and strength of the whole unit can be affected.
The causes of bad posture
Our modern lifestyle is a great contributor to poor posture. Furniture, beds and even cars are chosen for looks and apparent comfort, rather than support. Worst of all, this applies to those items we use most, both at work and at home. Most vulnerable to poor posture are those who spend a great deal of time in front of a computer, or who relax by slouching on soft couches in front of the TV.
Wearing the wrong shoes can tilt the body and so upset its balance so giving the entire body little support and putting strain on the spine and neck.
How to correct bad posture
Your spinal structure holds your body erect and also houses the spinal cord which carries the nervous system’s messages to all parts of the body. Without good posture these systems cannot work at their optimum.
- To improve posture, find sitting, lying, standing or walking stances in which no strain is being put on any part of the body, and particularly on your neck or spine. Avoid slouching, slumping or twisting your spine out of its normal curve.
- Improve the furniture used most often, so that it assists you in sitting or lying down properly.
- Don’t remain in one position for longer than 30 minutes. Swop from sitting to standing (even momentarily), and vice versa, at regular intervals. Get up and walk around for a while, or sit on a different chair. Put your feet up on an ottoman or stool for a while. Just keep ringing the changes.
- Do exercises which will stretch and strengthen muscles, particularly the core muscles, to help support the spinal structure.
- Engage in a discipline like yoga, martial arts or even ballet, which focus on core muscle strength, balance and posture.
- Visit a chiropractor to deal with any misalignment of the spine. This can be done with chiropractic manipulation or decompression.
Don’t give up trying
Unless serious damage caused by injury, trauma or disease is involved, there is a good chance that you can regain or maintain a good posture. It is seldom too late to try. And the rewards are looking and feeling good.