Incorrect Posture causes Back Pain
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.
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 😛
What are different type of bad postures?
I have slight lordosis. Identify from the pictures what postural imbalance you carry.
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
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 🙂