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How does posture affect back pain?

The most common cause of low back pain is postural strain.  How you sit, how you drive, sleep, and perform the activities of your day are the main cause of low back pain.  The majority of low back injuries are caused by the repetitive strain placed on soft tissue, the spinal joints and the intervertebral disc when you are in poor posture. In our office we find that 80% of the individuals we treat fall into this category of repetitive strain resulting in break down and overload of the spinal joints, disc and soft tissue.  While the other 20% of injuries are from blunt and severe trauma, such as car accidents, slips and falls. Unfortunately we spend much of our time with a slouched or rounded back posture at work, in school, while we sleep, and/or during leisure time.  

 

Some people who habitually sit with a round back posture and remain unaware of the dangers of this posture are inadvertently causing their low back pain.  It is necessary for our spines to function properly in order to maintain the natural curve in the small of the lower back. This inward curve of the low back is called a lordosis.  The spine has three natural curves from the bottom or lumbar spine we have a lordosis, moving to the mid back, or the thoracic spine, we have a kyphosis (or outward curve) and at the top our neck or cervical spine we have another lordosis (inward curve).  The three curves function to allow our spine and our body to absorb and distribute stress or mechanical load properly, thus not injuring or overloading any tissue, which will allow us to move about our day and carry and lift, push and pull objects and accomplish tasks.  

 

When pain from postural strain first begins it can easily be eliminated by correcting your posture.  However, over time as you remain in poor posture and create a new abnormal posture you will no longer be able to reduce pain by correcting your posture and in some extreme cases correcting your posture can be painful.  The effects of poor posture in the long term, therefore, can be just as severe and harmful as the effects of blunt trauma.  

 

If you would like to test your posture:

 

 

 

 

 

If you are able to do these activities try repeating this throughout the day. Posture training is like training for a long distance run, it is about endurance training. Correcting your posture throughout the day and attempting to hold that posture as long as possible. Over time correcting and holding your posture will become your new normal posture and you eliminate the habit of slouching and rounding your back.  This takes time and repetition. The use of a posture device or asking a friend to remind you when you fall into the round back posture is also helpful. Have fun with this and try not to make this “work”, and remind yourself you are getting a healthier spine and looking better every time you correct and keep good posture.  

At Nuzzi Chiropractic Lifestyle Wellness Center in Midland Park, New Jersey, we are here to help you with back pain and any questions you may have. Schedule an appointment with us or give us a call today!

Author
Dr. Lori Nuzzi

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