How Can Poor Posture Result in Back Pain? 7 Reasons Why
It’s safe to say that many of us are aware we have poor posture. In fact, you are probably slouching with your back rounded and head tilted forward as you read this.
Poor posture is prevalent in today’s society and can have a plethora of short term and long term effects on your health, and most importantly your spine. Let’s take a look at how poor posture can result in back pain.
What is Poor Posture?
Poor posture is substandard biomechanical positioning of your spine and surrounding areas. If you have poor posture, there is a strong likelihood that your head, shoulders, and spine are all involved in how your body is reacting.
Your body can either react positively or negatively to its postural positioning, and if you have poor posture, there is a likely negative physical response. These negative physical responses can occur intermittently to frequently, depending on your several factors, such as your occupation.
While poor posture can often seem like the easy and comfortable choice in certain situations, you may end up doing more harm than good.
How Poor Posture Can Cause Back Pain
Poor posture can cause back pain due to the biomechanics of improper sitting/standing. Good posture helps keep your vertebrae aligned with the rest of your body, as well as maintaining efficient distribution of tension through your muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
However, when you have poor posture, the weight in your spine is no longer well distributed, placing excessive pressure on bodily areas that are not equipped to handle such a large load.
This can weaken and/or inflame the soft tissue in your back, and when the interconnected network of muscles, joints, and discs in your spine are overloaded, back pain and dysfunction are not far behind. Here are the 7 top poor posture habits that could be causing your back pain:
8. Too Soft of a Mattress
It might not be obvious, but having a bad mattress can cause back pain. When a mattress is too soft, your body will sink inwards, causing poor posture whenever you sleep. Subsequently, this can cause the back problems that you might be feeling.
7. Sitting for Extended Periods of Time
Sitting for extended periods of time can be particularly harmful to your posture. Since a wide majority of jobs require working on a computer at a desk, there is a tendency to assume more casual sitting positions over the course of the work day.
As we sit for extended periods of time, the natural curvature of your spine becomes more accustomed to being rounded, and since sitting also requires shortened hip flexors, this is a recipe for back pain.
You might feel tailbone pain or soreness around the lower body. These are both natural indicators that you’ve been sitting for too long. If this happens, try some tailbone pain relief exercises to relax your muscles.
6. Leaning on One Leg
Leaning on one leg is also a reason for your poor posture causing back pain. You may be completely unaware if you are subconsciously leaning on one leg, so try standing up and examining if you feel more weight one one side versus the other.
Odds are you have a dominant leg/side, which can take on even more weight and pressure when you aren’t consciously thinking about it. Leaning on one leg can affect the entire kinetic chain, from your foot, all the way up to your knee, hip, and back, as each body part is holding additional tension to make up for the uneven weight distribution.
Not only can this cause back pain, but this can also cause future knee problems that can plague you for years.
Slouching is everyone’s favorite position when needing to relax or unwind. However, if you slouch too often, it can be very hazardous for your health. Whether you are someone who slouches on your desk chair or on your couch watching television, you are more vulnerable to neck, shoulder, and back pain.
Slouching can often entail the arching of your lower back, when pulled away from your sweat, as well as hunched shoulders and neck. These body positions are unfriendly to your spine’s natural curvature and creates additional stress on these areas.
Not only can this directly cause back pain, but it can also result in issues like sciatica which can lead to knee pain.
4. Reading While Lying on Your Belly
Lying on your belly, whether reading, watching tv, or using your phone, can also cause back pain. When you’re reading while lying on your belly, you are likely to overextend your necks, raise our shoulders to our ears, place our wrists and elbows in awkward positions, and jar the pelvis in order to be comfortable.
As a result, each of these precious joints becomes compromised. Your back is most vulnerable, because when reading while lying on your belly, the soft cushion under your belly can force your pelvis to shift, and your lower back to arch, increasing pressure and eventually leading to pain.
3. Texting On Your Phone
Texting on your phone, which we all are guilty of partaking in multiple times per day, can be a culprit for poor posture and back pain. Due to the size of your phone, as well as it being a handheld device, you constantly flex your neck and look down to text on your phone.
This can be damaging to your posture, as an over-flexed neck places strain onto your cervical spine, and pulls on your shoulders. The neck is often directly involved in ailments that involve your posture, and subsequently, your back, so texting on your phone should be considered a cause of poor posture leading to back pain.
2. Standing With a Sway Back
A sway back is identified by the hips being pushed forward, exaggerated spine curves, and your body appears to look like it is “leaning back.” Standing with a sway back for any period of time distresses your lower back, since with the hips being pushed forward, your upper spine is forced to overcompensate to the lack of stability coming from your pelvis.
And if one body part is working too hard, it eventually succumbs to pain and/or dysfunction if left unresolved.
1. Standing With a Flat Back
Standing with a flat back can equally cause poor posture and back pain as a swat back. A flat back means your pelvis is tucked in and your lower back is straight instead of naturally curved, causing you to stoop forward. Since you are stooping forward, your lower back loses its curvature and imbalances the weight distribution in your spine.
Prevent Back Pain from Poor Posture
Poor posture and back pain can be a deadly combo. When dealing with poor posture, there are a few crucial interventions to take to help prevent back pain.
- Strength Training: ensuring you engage in moderate exercise on a weekly basis can be extremely helpful in preventing back pain from poor posture. It’s important to focus on the posterior muscles with pull strength exercises such as Reverse Flys, instead of anterior muscle focused press exercises, such as the bench press that can encourage the rounding of the shoulders and further contribute to poor posture. Using the Yoga Strong Mini Workout Bands can be a great strength training accessory to accomplish these goals.
- Yoga: Yoga is an excellent choice for either balancing out strength training, or as a primary exercise modality. Many yoga poses, such as Toppling Tree and Easy Pose Cactus Arms work on shoulder retraction and spinal extension, which can help counteract any slouching, or extended sitting. Unsure where to start? Sign up for Yoga Strong Active for 30 days Free.
- Foam Roll: Foam rolling is a great supplement to your workout. Grab your Yoga Strong Roller and gently roll out any tight muscles in your legs, hips, and spine to help increase blood flow, relieve muscle tension, and accelerate workout recovery.
- Stretching: Stretching should be part of any health and wellness routine, especially if dealing with back pain from poor posture. While kneeling on your right leg, and using your Yoga Strong Strap, wrap one loop around your right foot and pull your foot towards your butt to stretch your right quadriceps muscle. This stretch puts you into hip extension, which is helpful to counter sitting for extended periods of time. Next, grab one end of the strap with your left hand, and the other end of the strap with your right hand and slowly pull the strap over and behind your head. This stretch puts you into shoulder extension, which is helpful to battle against rounded shoulders and texting on your phone.