By: Dr. Nicholas McCarty
Do you suffer from back pain? Are you trying to find ways to help alleviate it? If so, you might first want to look at your posture. Back pain is often caused by poor posture. This is because it causes strain around the spinal cord which results in pain. In many cases, it can also cause more extreme symptoms, like ruptured discs. Keep reading to learn how good posture could help your back pain. You’ll learn how back pain is often caused and how good posture can fix it.
What Causes Back Pain
Back pain is typically caused due to severe inflammation or strain around the spinal cord.
This problem can be caused by numerous things. This includes:
- Muscle or ligament strain
- A ruptured disc
Symptoms of Back Pain
Back pain comes with quite a few different symptoms. Many common symptoms include:
- Muscle aches
- Pain when you move around
- Pain radiating down your leg
- Stabbing pain in your back
- Numbness in your back and legs
- Muscle spasms
The Benefits of Good Posture
While some back pain problems are due to a medical condition, most are caused by bad posture. Hence, the importance of good posture cannot be understated. Below are some benefits as to how it can help to eliminate your back pain.
It Keeps Your Bones and Joints in Correct Alignment
When you use incorrect posture, it can put strain on your bones and joints. This can eventually cause them to move out of alignment, when your spine’s strange position causes them to shift. Eventually, this can lead to back pain. Using good posture prevents this because it stops strain on your back’s bones and joints.
It Prevents Stress on Your Spinal Cord
Bad posture can also put stress on your spinal cord. Your spinal cord is surrounded by vertebrae, which protect it and enable both flexibility and support during movement. Bad posture can cause these bones to move or be pushed into awkward positions creating stress on your spinal cord as your vertebrae try to maintain their natural curve. Poor posture not only causes the vertebrae to move in different directions, but it can shift your body weight, putting even more stress on your spinal cord.
It Improves Circulation
Good posture can also help improve your circulation. When you slouch, it causes your blood to move away from your heart. When you use proper posture, circulation to your heart is increased. This also helps to lower blood pressure, as your body is optimally aligned for your blood to circulate as efficiently as possible.
It Reduces Muscle Tension
When you have poor posture, it can lead to muscle contractions which can lead to back pain and tension headaches. Good posture keeps your muscles relaxed which can reduce tension headaches, stiffness, back pain, and other soreness throughout the body. Reducing muscle tension also helps to prevent injury.
It Can Boost Your Energy Levels
You might be surprised to learn that good posture can help to boost your energy. This is because it reduces tension and strain around your spinal cord which can alter your mood. As mentioned above, it also improves your circulation which can encourage your body to feel happier and energetic.
Techniques for Using Good Posture
Below are some techniques you can keep in mind to help ensure you use good posture.
One of the best ways to improve your posture is to stand as straight as you can. This will work to stretch your spine back into its natural curve. It can also help to provide relief to painful muscles around your spinal cord affected by your poor posture. While standing straight, make sure to also bring your shoulders back slightly. This will help to align your neck and spine.
Use a Lumbar Cushion When You Sit
One way to help your posture is to use a lumbar cushion when you sit. Your lumbar system consists of your spinal cord and the nerves surrounding it. This item will work to help keep your lumbar system aligned while preventing you from slouching.
A lumbar cushion is designed specifically to provide support to your spine when you sit. It helps to make you feel as if you’re floating rather than compressed against a seat which can cause tension in your tailbone that moves up into your spine.
Limit Your Screen Usage
Many people today suffer from what is called “text neck”. This is when your neck becomes sore and tense due to you lowering it down to look at your smart device. Because your neck is connected to your spine, tension in your neck can affect the spine as well. Due to this, it’s ideal to limit your time on your smart devices. You can also make sure to lift them up to eye level to prevent bending your neck down.
Watch Your Shoes
Sometimes the shoes you wear can cause strain to your spine. This is because your gait—the way in which you walk—involves the bones in your feet, and how they move will ultimately affect the alignment of the spine. If not properly supported, your feet can cause your spine to slouch which can lead to back pain. Take care to wear adequately supportive shoes to ensure they properly support your spine.
Gently Stretch Your Body
Back pain can be caused by your muscles tensing up because they aren’t being moved. You can help to prevent this by standing up, keeping your shoulders back, and gently stretching your body. This will keep your spine aligned while also releasing any tension you might have.
Keep Your Weight Evenly Distributed on Each Foot
Some people might lean more on one side of their body. This can cause strain to the side that is being pulled. To prevent spinal strain, work to keep your weight evenly distributed on both feet. This will also help to keep your spine aligned and prevent back pain.
In some cases—such as with scoliosis—you might need special medical treatment. If you suffer from back pain that persists, is intense, or comes with other symptoms (such as tingling in your extremities), it’s a good idea to see a doctor. Remembering to pay attention to your posture, however, can help to significantly reduce the symptoms of many causes of back pain, improve your circulation, boost your energy levels, and prevent injury.
Good posture is one of the simplest and most important ways to start yourself off “on the right foot”.
Dr. Nicholas McCarty is a graduate of Logan University where he earned his degree in chiropractic medicine. After moving to Alaska, he became a chiropractor at Better Health Chiropractic in Anchorage as well as a physiology lecturer at the local university. However, his true passion lies in chiropractic medicine. He found his calling as a chiropractor after being treated for post-surgical pains of his own. His primary mission is to treat and reduce unrelieved pain in patients, as well as stay abreast of new technological developments in chiropractic and physical medicine.