When the National Institutes of Health says 8 out of 10 people suffer from back pain, you know there’s a problem. Back pain can stem from tension in your lower back and reach all the way up to the shoulders.
And while most cases of back pain only last for a few days, others can last anywhere from a few months to several years. Fortunately, focusing more on your posture can help decrease your chances of back pain and increase your range of motion.
Bad Posture Leads to Back Pain
Slouching you’ve seen it before and probably do it yourself. More and more people are slouching because they’re spending most of their time hunched over their computer desk or on the couch with their tablet in hand. However, slouching does more than affect your physical appearance; it also affects your spinal alignment.
Slouching brings your head forward and rounds your shoulders, ultimately affecting your alignment and leading to neck and jaw pain, headaches and upper back pain. Worse yet, if you slouch while sitting, you almost certainly slouch while standing. Standing up straight with your shoulders back aligns your spine and takes pressure off your shoulders, neck and head. You don’t have to stand at attention like a soldier, but practicing good posture helps avoid hunched shoulders and a slouched upper back.
The Major Causes of Bad Posture
Bad posture doesn’t just develop because of joint and muscle problems; it also occurs with performing repetitive motions or toting heavy objects like a backpack around every day.
In fact, Fitness magazine published an article on how everyday activities like sitting in front of a computer all day or even continuously clenching your jaw can affect your back.
Standing Straight to Fight Bad Posture
The key to improving your posture is to always be aware of it. This may be hard at first, so start small. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Recognizing and correcting your slouched back at your desk, or while standing in line.
- Sitting or standing with your shoulders relaxed but pulled back to align with your body.
- Straightening your upper back by curving in your lower back and jetting your buttocks a small bit behind you.
Make a mental note to think of how you’re sitting or standing once every hour or two. Once you’ve gotten in the habit of consistently thinking about and readjusting your posture, sitting up and standing straight will come naturally.
Standing up straight may cause a little discomfort at first, it may even feel a little awkward, but if you make it a priority to sit and stand up straight, you’ll improve your posture and strengthen your back muscles.
If you sit for hours at your job, take breaks every 30 minutes and practice standing up straight to help alleviate back pain. With consistent practice and recognizing poor habits, you can improve your posture and help avoid back pain in your everyday routine.
If your back hurts and you don’t think your posture is to blame, it may be time to see a professional. North American Spine is a leader in spinal health. In fact, their minimally invasive approach to spine surgery has an 82% success rate.