One of the major contributors of back, neck pain and general fatigue is poor posture. This throws the spine out of alignment and puts added strain on muscles. Over time this may lead to a change in the anatomical structure of the spine, and affect blood vessels, nerves and other organs. Bad posture can be easily corrected, but first, let us look at some factors that cause it.
People may develop bad posture through the following:
- Slouching with the shoulders hunched forward while standing or sitting in an office chair.
- Swayback (often called lordosis) – this is an increase in the natural inward curve of the lower back.
- Flat back – occurs during sitting when the pelvis is tilted too far back.
- Carrying a heavy bag or purse on one side of the shoulder.
- Cradling a phone between the neck and shoulder for long periods.
- Wearing high heels.
- Sleeping on a mattress that doesn’t provide proper support.
Many people slouch when sitting at a desk or computer for extended periods. Slouching strains the muscles between the shoulder blades, giving rise to back pain. It also increases the natural forward curve of the neck, resulting in neck pain. Slouching is often caused by fatigue and also leads to improper breathing and insufficient oxygen intake as the diaphragm is compressed. Getting enough oxygen relaxes the muscles and relieves stress and tension.
Sway back occurs when the pelvis tilts forward. This places extra stress on the ligaments of the spine and leads to back pain. Sleeping on your stomach shortens the back muscles and leads to back pain. Lengthening the muscles through stretching exercises can relieve this type of back pain. However, this should be done under the supervision of a physiotherapist as over-stretching or improper stretching can exacerbate the condition.
Flattened back, the opposite of sway back is a decrease in the inward curve of the lower back. Muscles and ligaments are stretched and back pain is the result. This can be avoided by using an office chair with good back support so that the pelvis is not tilted too far back. If you don’t have such a chair, use a small pillow for support. Adjust your monitor screen so it’s not too high or too low as this can lead to neck and upper back pain.
If you are suffering from any type of neck or back pain, see us for an evaluation. We will be able to determine if poor posture is the cause and give you exercises to correct it and get rid of the pain. We will also assess your living and working environments and make ergonomic adjustments that will help you avoid a recurrence of any posture-related back or neck pain.