News - Managing pain

How is your posture affecting your back pain?

If you’re experiencing back pain, then rest assured that you’re far from alone. As many as 80% of us report lower back pain at some point in our lives. Bad posture can be both a cause of back pain, as well a contributor to an ongoing back injury or condition.

How is your posture affecting your back pain?

The following pointers are all signs that suggest any back pain you may be suffering is a direct result of poor posture:
•    Pain severity that fluctuates throughout the day
•    Pain that is felt in the neck, that then moves to your upper and/or lower back
•    Pain that’s either alleviated or eradicated by a simple switch in the way that you’re sitting or standing
•    Pain that has emerged suddenly at the same time as you’ve started a new job, or purchased a new car, or office chair

If none of these symptoms apply to you, then it must be that there’s another cause of your back pain. You should consider seeing your doctor if you’ve suffered back pain for more than 6 weeks (with further red flags including: fever; trauma to the back region; numbness or tingling; affected bowl or bladder function; foot drop or unexplained weight loss).

Why poor posture invokes back pain

Poor posture places stress on your back, and over an extended period of time leads to anatomical changes in the spine. Ultimately this leads to the constriction of blood vessels and nerves.

Critical tips for a proper posture and protected back
The following four pointers will assist your pain – whether you’re suffering from poor posture, or there’s another cause.

1. Maintain a proper posture whilst sitting
Ensure that your back remains flush to your chair, and that your shoulders are pushed backward – this overcomes the commonly suffered ‘office chair slump’. Your feet should remain flat on the floor (as crossing your legs can unnaturally twist the spine).

 

2. Take time to lift heavy objects
Use your hips to bear most of the movement when lifting, ensuring that your chest is pushed forward, with your back straight. Lift with a smooth motion, rather than a sudden jolt. This will help avoid injury to your joints, discs and connective tissues.

3. Follow good posture tips even when walking or exercising
Don’t neglect your posture when you’re walking or exercising. Ensure that you always look straight ahead of you with your shoulders placed backward, and stride forward using your heels.

Whilst back pain is incredibly common, that’s not to say that it should simply be accepted. Indeed, the majority of those who suffer from back pain do so as they neglect to follow good posture practice.

If you’d like some help with your posture, or a qualified Osteopath to examine your back pain, give us a call on 020 8316 5316.