Is Your Posture Contributing to Your Nagging Back Pain?
Everyone’s heard that good posture is important – how many times did a parent nag you to stand or sit up straight when you were younger? Poor posture is associated with poor appearances, such as Dowager’s hump, and can also start to affect how your organs function. Fortunately, a low back pain doctor near Farmington, MI, can help you improve your posture.
Why Does My Back Hurt?
Back pain can originate from several sources. You’ve got the vertebrae (the bones that make up your spinal column), all the soft tissues that connect the vertebrae (muscles, ligaments, and tendons), discs which act like cushions in between each vertebra, and the spinal cord and nerves that branch off of it. Some of the most common causes of low back pain include:
- Muscle strain
- Ligament sprain
- Spondylolisthesis (when one vertebra slips forward or backward causing pain and irritation to the nerve root)
- Disc degeneration
- Disc herniation, bulge, or rupture
- Spinal stenosis (the canal that the spinal cord passes through can narrow causing pain, pressure on nerves, numbness, and weakness)
- Effects of poor posture
- Spinal misalignments
What Does it Mean to Have Good Posture?
Taking steps to correct bad posture is one of the best things you can start doing right away to keep back pain to a minimum. Good posture will help keep your body in proper balance and prevent any one area from being overly taxed. Gravity is always exerting its force upon us, which is why it is essential to have the right posture to place the least strain on the supporting structures, ligaments, and muscles.
The benefits of good posture are many:
- It helps to prevent abnormal wear and tear on joints
- It reduces the stress on muscles, ligaments, and tendons
- It minimizes the risk of injury since the bones and soft tissues work together more optimally
- It prevents overuse disorders and wear and tear that accumulates from poor posture
Proper posture is a result of a balance of strength and flexibility. Your muscles need to be both strong enough to bear your weight and flexible enough to accommodate your movements. Recognizing lousy posture habits and taking steps to correct them can yield beneficial results when it comes to reducing the odds of back pain and problems.
How Do I Stand Correctly?
Proper standing posture will keep the mass of your body correctly positioned over its center of gravity.
- Bear your weight evenly on your feet from front to back and left to right.
- Keep your feet about shoulder-width apart.
- Avoid rounding your shoulders forward. Many of us slouch and do this unconsciously. Try to be aware of this bad habit.
- When looking from the side, the opening of your ear should be lined up with your shoulder – in most people, the head is pulled too far forward.
- Be aware of bearing your weight favoring one leg with the hip jutted out on that side.
- Don’t lock out your knees; keep them slightly bent as you stand.
How Do I Sit Correctly?
Good sitting posture will ensure that none of your joints and muscles will have to endure too much stress.
- Avoid sitting with your legs crossed.
- Adjust your chair so that your knees are positioned slightly lower than your hips.
- If your feet don’t reach the floor, use a footrest to keep your legs from dangling placing pressure on the muscles and nerves that run down the back of the thighs.
- If possible, choose a chair with adequate lumbar (low back) support.
- If you keep your wallet in your back pocket, take it out before driving or sitting down at your desk.
- Adjust the height of your chair so that your forearms are parallel to the ground. Sit close enough to your desk so that your shoulders don’t round forward when typing or using your mouse.
- To avoid sitting for too long, set a timer to remind yourself to take a stretch break every 45 minutes to an hour.
How Do I Lay Down Correctly?
Sleeping with good posture can help you get a good night’s rest and wake up with less back and neck stiffness.
- Most back pain sufferers will benefit from sleeping on either their back or side.
- Avoid sleeping on your stomach if possible. Stomach sleeping causes your low back to arch as well as placing more stress on the neck with it turned to one side through the night.
- Choose the right pillow. Regardless of your preferred sleep position, a good pillow will help to keep your spine in a neutral position.
- Pick a mattress that is medium to firm so that your spine gets the needed support.
Back Pain Relief Starts at the Top of the Neck
When you start paying more attention to your posture, you’ll realize how connected your entire back and spine are. Correcting one area will always have an impact on everything around it. This concept is one that upper cervical chiropractors understand quite well. Most people know that visiting a chiropractor for back pain can be helpful, but what many people don’t fully understand is that to get to the root cause of back pain, it is essential to make sure that your head is in a neutral position.
The atlas vertebra, or C1, sits at the very top of the neck. It is the most freely movable vertebra of the entire spine and, because of this fact, it is also the most vulnerable to misaligning as a result of injury or wear and tear. When the atlas misaligns, it causes the head to be carried off-balance. To compensate, your shoulders and hips will also shift in an attempt to keep the head upright and the eyes level. Instead of chasing around the symptoms of back pain, whether they be in your mid-back or low back, upper cervical chiropractic care goes straight to the source.
If you’re looking for a low back pain doctor near Farmington, MI, then Premier Family Wellness and Spinal Care will be an excellent fit for you. We offer a complimentary consultation to all of our patients so that we have the opportunity to understand your health history and needs. Even if you’ve tried chiropractic before, you will see how the upper cervical approach is unique and can help you get rid of your chronic back pain.