Incorrect Posture causes Back Pain

Incorrect Posture causes Back Pain

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I have been getting a lot of queries on the solution for back pain. I know how pathetic it feels to live with an all time cervical or lower back pain. I have lived with it for 3 years of my life. For those 3 years, I thought exercises might aggravate my problem so instead of working on improving my problem I took pain killers and injections, that obviously eased my pain for sometime but, never cured my problem. It was only when I resorted to physiotherapy and yoga, that I started getting some relief. I also started seeking for a lot of questions like what in the first place caused me this problem. Is there any problem with my alignment? Do I know my spine well? Do I understand what is slip disk? In reality, Is there any disk that slips from the vertebral column causing this much pain and discomfort?

Though I realized answers to these questions long back yet, the recent pilates program got me closer the answera. The very foundation of Pilates or Yoga or for that matter any form of physical workout is to maintain and enhance the flexibility, strength and stability of our spine. It is the skeletal part of our body, which is the all and everything for our physical fitness. The concept of core strength, stability, balance, muscular contractions, tight bums and thighs etc all evolve only over and above this foundation of having a stable and flexible spine. How? That I will tell you by and by. For now let me share what is the ideal posture for the spine and how can we maintain it.

The spine is made up of vertebra stacked one on top of the other. Between two vertebrae are shock absorbers called discs. These discs not only cushion the movements of the vertebre above and below, but also protect the spinal cord, which runs through the middle.

Illu_vertebral_column

Check out the image of the spinal column in the image above and note the following:

1. Not all the sections of the spine are same.
2. It has 4 regions Cervical, Thoracic, lumbar and sacral region.
3. All the 4 regions have curves.

Ideal posture is one where these natural curves are maintained. The muscles around the spinal cord are responsible for maintaining these curves. If any of these muscles get week then the postural imbalance happens and hence we have back pain.

Muscles around Spinal Column

The two main muscle groups that affect the spine are extensors and flexors. The extensor muscles enable us to stand up and lift objects. The extensors are attached to the back of the spine. The flexor muscles are in the front and include the abdominal muscles. These muscles enable us to flex, or bend forward, and are important in lifting and controlling the arch in the lower back.

What causes the back pain?

Weak muscles cause imbalance in these natural spinal curves. for example a huge protruding belly leads to weak abdominal muscles which puts a lot of strain on the lower back muscles. People with protruding belly or pregnant women have weight appended to the front of their body, which means that to keep from falling forward, the person has to lean backward therefore putting his or her weight on the spine. This condition is emphasized by weak abdominal muscles. They really need to try to correct their posture esp when they workout and try to strengthen their ab muscles. If they keep training with the same wrong posture then with time they would definitely develop back problems.

What is Good Posture?

Good posture is one that puts the least amount of strain on the ligaments and joints of the pine, pelvis and legs. It is a reflection is balance between the curves of the spine, the degree of tension of ligaments and muscles and the strength of the muscles of various muscles of the lower back, pelvic and spine. Basically good posture is the position in which you hold your body upright against gravity while standing, sitting, or lying down.

What causes slip disk?

Bad posture causes slip disk. Actually ‘slip disk’ is a misnomer, what happens is wrong posture put uneven pressure on the disks between the vertebrae and forces the back muscle to work overtime to hold us up. Muscles go into spasm and create a pressure around the vertebrae disks. These inflamed disks irritate the nerves around causing pain. There is no movement of the disk. Infact these disks are so firmly attached to the vertebrae that the bone would break if the disk would move :P

What are different type of bad postures?
I have slight lordosis. Identify from the pictures what postural imbalance you carry.

lord

Lordosis: An abnormal curve of the lumbar spine is lordosis, also called sway back.

Correction: Take care to tilt your pelvic towards front whenever you stand up.

What to stretch: Hip Flexors & Hamstrings

What to strengthen: Lower Abdominals & Glutes

girl_lg

kyphosis: An abnormal curve of the thoracic spine is kyphosis, also called hunchback. This is very common. We all have a tendency to slouch our thoracic spine esp while sitting.

Correction: Everytime make an effort to grow tall, as you can see in the picture. Mind your posture, grow tall, squeeze your shoulder blades down, pull out your chest and look sexy! Cheers!

What to stretch: Chest muscles

What to strengthen: Back muscles

Next, I will share exercises for the back problems still want to let you know that if you have lower back issues then Pilates and some yoga asanas are panacea for you.

Pull out your chest, squeeze your shoulder blades downward, Walk tall, feel and look sexy. Cheers :)

Image Source: 1 2 3 4

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9 Responses to Incorrect Posture causes Back Pain

  1. Manisha says:

    Very nice & informative post. Knowingly unknowingly we are into wrong postures & it causes problems. I’ll try to be in correct posture all the time.

  2. Sumathi says:

    Very informative post Nidhi.. My 11 month old niece sits so perfectly straight.. That’s when I realised our normal porture is perfect. We only tend to hunch out of laziness.
    I keep reminding myself to keep my back straight and these days I keep looking in the mirror and try to correct my posture..

  3. Ramya says:

    Nidhi this is a very helpful and informative post. I tend to do the 3rd pose, i.e sway back… I keep trying to correct myself. Do write more articles like these :) And on Pilates too… I am not able to find a Pilates trainer :( Any videos or dvds I can pick up?

    • Nidhi says:

      Ramya, I too have this habit of sticking my bums out :P I keep reminding myself now to keep my pelvic titled inwards esp when I workout .. A good posture makes one look more confident and sexy :P .. Pilates is a do it under trainer workout so much technicality to it. It is for people who are into serious exercising. Who do not exercise just for the heck of burning calories for some hours.

      I have ordered certain DVDs will tell if I like them. Avani and I will anyways keep sharing a lot of technical gyan on pilates in coming days :)

  4. Gayatri says:

    Thanks Nidhi! I’m 5’10″ and have been slouching since i was a school goer. And problem occurred as my height is not equally divided. I am taller in legs so while sitting on a bench and standing in bus, later while riding my scooter and now working on my kitchen platform I involuntarily slouch as these things do not match my height. I’m 28 now and I literally ask people to correct my posture if I slouch because I unknowingly do that. And I completely agree that if I do exercise with wrong posture, esp aerobics, it hurts like anything..I try to stay erect but my muscles have become way too weak. After seeing that pregnant lady’s pic I’ve become more conscious as this stage will happen to me in a year! Do i need to use any back support or belt or shallI go check with my physician?

    • Nidhi says:

      Gayatri, asking others to correct you is very helpful. Pilates and yoga help a lot in posture correction. Pilates infact works wonder on correcting your posture but only if it is done with a good instructor..

  5. kashika khatana says:

    good and intersting

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