For many years there was the thought that “bad posture” may be the reason behind an individual’s back pain. Sitting improperly, lifting heavy objects for work or exercise, or maintaining awkward positions were attributed to be the sinister source of back pain. However, there has been a shift in this thought process. A systematic review could not find a causal relationship between occupational physical activities which include bending/twisting, awkward postures, sitting, standing/walking, carrying, pushing/pulling, lifting, and manual handling/ assisting patients with low back pain. With all these conflicting thoughts and evidence, it can be confusing to figure out the best way to maintain your spinal health and prevent future or recurring back pain. Here are some recommendations moving forward that could help those who experience back pain.
Try finding a more comfortable position. We all have variations within our spines that make certain positions more painful or pain-free compared to our peers. Finding a more relaxed posture is associated with more symptom relief. If you find certain positions in your daily life that are provoking your back pain symptoms, try to alter your position slightly to see if you can make the position more comfortable or relaxing.
Our spine is strong! Your spine is built to withstand the forces and motions that we do every day. Movement is healthy for the spine and even encouraged if you are experiencing back pain. Try to move into positions that you may have avoided in the past due to their association with pain. Pain doesn’t always mean you are harming the spine. Furthermore, learn to trust the strength of your spine.
Reflect on the other areas of your life. Poor diet, sleep, and stress can all contribute to low back pain. Back pain is a multi-factorial problem that can be caused by different areas in your life. Before attributing “bad posture” to your back pain, think of the whole picture and other possible culprits that could be improved for your overall health and wellness.
Even though “bad posture” may not be the cause of your back pain, always pay attention to your body mechanics, especially if heavy lifting has provoked your back pain in the past. As mentioned before, try to take a holistic approach to the multi-faceted problem of back pain. If you find yourself or a loved one experiencing acute or recurring back pain, it may be time to see a physical therapist. Contact Live Your Life at either Minnesota or Florida locations for a free consultation.
Kwon, B. K., et al. “Systematic Review: Occupational Physical Activity and Low Back Pain.”
Occupational Medicine, vol. 61, no. 8, 2011, pp. 541–548., doi:10.1093/occmed/kqr092.
Slater, Diane, et al. “‘Sit up Straight’: Time to Re-Evaluate.” Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, vol. 49, no. 8, 31 July 2019, pp. 562–564., https://doi.org/10.2519/jospt.2019.0610.