We live in a world dominated by technology and this should have made our lives easier. At a first glance, you might think that technology is your friend but, in reality, it has had quite a negative impact on your health. This is because it has forced us to become sedentary creatures, spending hours and hours behind a desk and slouching. Our spine, which was accustomed to physical activity, suffers now from our bad posture. What is worse, we have the tendency to maintain this bad posture even when we stand. In time, this leads to back and neck pain, reducing our overall functionality and quality of life.
Does bad posture lead to back pain?
In order to understand the connection between bad posture and back pain, let us take a practical example. Imagine a day at the office, you working on a project on your computer. You begin the day in a typical manner, with your back straight and supported by the chair; the knees are kept at a straight angle and the feet are supported on the floor. However, as you dive into your work, your posture changes, and not for the better.
You begin to slouch, bringing your head forward and tensing the muscles in your neck. The muscles at the front are contracted as well, while the spinal muscles begin to lengthen. You might also cross your legs, which will put pressure on the nerves and create additional problems. Due to the prolonged sitting, you will irritate the sciatic nerve and end up suffering from low back pain. After a single day at the office, your entire spine will go through a difficult time and the neck and back pain will appear as a natural consequence.
It is worth mentioning that the association between back pain and poor work postures has been made by numerous studies and scientific articles, including one that was published by Lumo Bodytech. Other studies, such as one published in RSP, have drawn attention to back pain prevalence in children and adolescents, connecting this to prolonged sitting during school hours.
What does a correct posture entail?
A correct posture begins with the head and the neck, which should be kept straight and in line with the spine. Always avoid pushing your head forward and raise your chin slightly, as the chin tucked towards the chest can lead to tensed neck muscles. The back should be maintained straight as well, avoiding excess rounding or bring your abdomen forward. The hips should be kept in line with the spine, the knees straight but not too close together and the feet should be kept a moderate distance from one another. If you are sitting at a desk, your posture should be the one described in the initial example.
According to a guide published by the McKinley Health Center, it is possible to improve your poor posture by paying attention to the way you sit or stand. You should also make sure that your desk allows for sufficient knee room and that it is placed at a comfortable height. As for the chair, this should be adjustable and provide excellent back support. From a practical point of view, you can resort to physical therapy and perform a set of exercises, which will help you improve your posture on the long run.
Back pain is the number one complaint nowadays, especially since it can affect one’s quality of life quite significantly. It is often caused by poor posture, very much like neck pain but the good news is that it can be prevented and/or corrected. All you have to do is pay attention to yourself and, when things get worse, visit a physical therapist for additional help.