How Can Poor Posture Result in Back Pain?
However, the most common cause of back pain is bad posture. How we carry ourselves while we walk, stand, and sit has a huge impact on our back and spine. If our posture is poor, this can directly lead to back pain.
But how can poor posture result in back pain and what can you do to prevent it?
Posture refers to how you hold yourself when you're walking, sitting, and standing. Most of us recognize that slumped shoulders and hunched backs aren't proper posture, but there are a number of others things related to posture that could be contributing to your back pain.
In this article, we're going to go over the most common back pain related to bad posture and how you can fix it.
Let's start with one of the most common and recognizable signs of bad posture that can lead to back pain. Whether you're sitting or standing, slouching might actually feel more comfortable than maintaining a straight or flat back at all times.
This is why slouching can be so dangerous: it feels better, so it's easy to fall back into a slouch. However, slouching strains the muscles in your neck, shoulders, and back, which can lead to a lot of pain and discomfort.
Prolonged slouching and bad posture can physically change your back including straining your muscles, compressing nerves, and restricting blood vessels. All of this leads to bad posture back pain.
Hunched Back (Sitting or Standing)
Hunching over your laptop, your phone, your desk, or even just subconsciously hunching over when you're sitting or driving are all common positions, especially in a world where most of us sit at a desk for 8 hours per day.
We usually hunch over because of our upper back, chest, and shoulders are weak or strained. This can further strain these muscles and contribute to a rounded and stiff back.
Rounding Your Shoulders
Rounding your shoulders is another subconscious habit of poor posture that is usually the result of weak muscles and muscle strain. When your shoulders are rounded, you'll further strain the muscles in your neck and upper back and you also tend to overcompensate with muscles in your lower back.
All of this leads to muscle imbalances, muscle strain, and further poor posture that eventually leads to back pain.
Leaning on One Leg
We've all done this one before when waiting in line at Starbucks or standing waiting for the bus. Leaning all your weight on one leg feels natural, but it's actually a sign of bad posture that can lead to back pain.
This strains the muscles in your lower back, buttocks, and hips. Not only can this cause pain, but it can also affect how you walk, stand, and sit.
Sticking Your Chin Out
Pointing your chin out in front of you might seem innocuous, but it put a lot of strain and pressure on the muscles in your neck. This can lead to pain as well as overcompensation with other muscles in your back. This causes stiffness, pain, and a lack of mobility.
How to Fix Your Posture and Help Back Pain
Whether you do one or all of these things, there are simple steps you can take to maintain good posture and avoid these posture mistakes.
Maintain Proper Sitting and Standing Positions
Make a conscious effort to fix your posture. If you're prone to slouching or hunching, visualize a straight line going down your back to force yourself to sit and stand as straight as possible.
You should also make sure you have proper support when you're sitting, especially if you work a sedentary job. Get a back support or an office chair that allows you to sit with your back flat against the back of the chair with your feet flat on the floor.
Also, be wary of the hunched back and neck position that often comes with computer or phone use. Make sure your screen is level with your eyes so you won't strain your neck or back leaning in to see properly.
You can also do particular exercises that will strengthen the muscles in your back to avoid bad posture that's a result of weak muscle groups.
For example, if you find that slouching and hunching are your biggest posture vices, try doing exercises to strengthen your upper back and chest. This will make it easier for you to maintain proper posture without your muscles becoming weak or exhausted.
If you find that you mostly lean on one leg, this could be a sign of muscle weakness or imbalance in your lower back and hips. Do strength training exercises and stretches that will strengthen these areas and help you avoid the bad posture back pain.
Back Brace Support
A back brace is another great option that can help you avoid bad posture back pain. Back braces keep your back in the proper position and essentially forces you to maintain good posture.
This will help keep your back straight and aligned whether you're sitting, standing, or walking.
Bad Posture and Back Pain: Bottom Line
Bad posture might not immediately cause back pain; it might even feel more natural to slouch or hunch than to maintain proper posture.
So, how can poor posture result in back pain? It strains your muscles, leads to overcompensation, and physically changes the structure of your back. Nerve damage, muscle weakness, and decreased blood flow all contribute to back pain caused by bad posture.
Following the tips we went over to maintain good posture will help you avoid these pains. Don't hesitate to contact us to ask any questions about back pain and back braces for pain management.