Updated: Jun 5
Chances are, if you are reading this, you have had some back pain in the past or currently have some. Many people experience back pain, and it can be a debilitating condition. There are many people struggling with the debilitating effects of back pain that originates from their daily posture. What most people don't realize is that how you sit, stand, and even sleep can have a damaging effect on your body.
When you have bad posture, you may think it will only affect your appearance. You might even think it won't have much long-term effect. In reality, though, poor posture can cause all sorts of health issues and may lead to chronic back pain. That's why our Manhattan pain management center is here to help! This blog takes a look at what can lead to back pain and how you can improve your situation without medication or invasive procedures.
What Is Poor Posture?
Poor or bad posture means standing or sitting in a way that puts pressure on your joints and muscles — often without realizing it — causing them to become tense and inflamed over time. It can be the result of a variety of factors, including injury, genetics, and aging. But it's often caused by an imbalance between the muscles in your body and the load they support.
Poor posture happens when your body is out of alignment. It can be caused by a forward head position, rounded shoulders, and a tight chest. The result is that you are putting more stress on certain parts of your body.
Here are some common signs that you may have bad posture:
Your shoulders are rounded forward or hunched up to your ears
You have a humped back or swayback
Your upper back is arched too much or not enough
Your knees are bent with feet turned outwards (pronated) or inwards (supinated)
Your lower back or pelvis is tilted forwards, backward, or sideways
How Can Poor Posture Lead to Back Pain?
Poor posture is a problem that most of us have. It is found in people who have to sit for long hours due to their jobs, driving, etc. It has been proven that poor posture increases the risk of several health problems like circulation problems, tendinitis, and eventually chronic back pain.
Chronic back pain is caused by long-term muscle strain or damage caused by repetitive movements that are done incorrectly over time. If left untreated, back pain can lead to serious issues such as osteoporosis (thinning of the bones), loss of mobility, and even paralysis if the spinal cord gets pinched by the vertebrae.
The spine is constantly under stress from the moment we wake up in the morning until we go to bed at night. The spine has to support the weight of our head, torso, arms, and legs while we stand, sit, walk and exercise. If you have a bad posture, it can make your spine vulnerable to injury and cause chronic back pain.
The spine is especially affected by poor posture because it consists of more than 30 bones called vertebrae stacked on top of each other like building blocks. It is a very complex structure made up of bones, nerves, and muscles. When one part of the spine is out of whack, it can affect the entire system. Poor posture can lead to spinal misalignment and spinal degeneration over time, which can cause pain in various areas of the back — such as between the shoulder blades or the lower back.
What are the Effects of Poor Posture?
The pain that results from poor posture is often the result of one or more of the following:
Strain back muscles and ligaments
When your back muscles contract to maintain good posture, they pull on their tendons, which attach them to the bones in your spine. If these muscles are weak or inflexible, they can't do their job as well as they should. This can lead to chronic muscle tension and pain.
Strain on joints in the back
The joints in your spine (called facet joints) also support your body weight. Joints are designed to move smoothly so that we can bend, twist and turn with ease. When you slouch or sit incorrectly with poor spinal alignment, it strains these joints, causing them to wear out much faster than they should — especially if you're overweight or otherwise carrying extra pounds on your frame.
Poor posture can cause the spine not to curve naturally
The spine is made up of bones called vertebrae and discs between them. The vertebrae are cushioned by discs that act like shock absorbers. When you slouch or sit in a hunched position, these discs become flattened and cause pressure on the nerves that travel through them. This can lead to pain in your back and neck. Poor posture can also lead to muscles becoming overstretched or underused, which can cause muscle strain and fatigue. This, in turn, leads to aching muscles and joints as well as headaches and fatigue.
Make you more susceptible to injury
If you have poor posture, you're likely to be more likely to suffer from injuries like sprains or strains (pulled muscles). This happens because when your body isn't working properly due to poor posture, it's less able to absorb shocks from physical activity such as running or playing sports – and so increases your risk of injury as a result.
Poor posture can affect nerves
Poor posture can lead to chronic back pain, but it also affects other parts of the body. When you slouch, your muscles shorten and become tight. This causes them to pull on the joints, which leads to pain and discomfort. Over time, poor posture can cause damage to the nerves that run through certain muscles and joints in your body. This can lead to tingling or numbness in your arms or legs or even paralysis of certain muscles.
Poor posture can cause poor circulation
Over time, bad posture can cause poor circulation in your body and prevent oxygen from reaching your vital organs, like your brain and heart. This can lead to dizziness, fatigue, and even heart failure if it's severe enough.
When Should You See a Specialist About Back Pain?
A pain management specialist may be able to help you identify any underlying problems that could be causing the pain, such as arthritis or spinal disc disease
If you have new or worsening back pain that lasts more than four weeks, you should see a specialist
There are many different causes of back pain, ranging from muscle strains and sprains to cancerous tumors. The sooner you get treatment for your condition, the better your chances of healing quickly and completely
If your back pain is severe and interferes with your ability to function normally, such as being unable to sleep or stand up straight
If you have numbness or tingling in your arms or legs, which may indicate nerve damage
If you have a fever and diarrhea, which may be due to an infection in the spine (spinal meningitis)
If you have weakness in one or both legs, that doesn't go away when you walk around (paraplegia)
What are the Treatments for Back Pain?
Back pain can be caused by a number of things, some of them physical and others psychological. While back pain can be physically debilitating, there are non-surgical and non-narcotic pain management treatments for back pain, including physical therapy and chiropractic care.
The good news is that there are many treatment options for back pain, and physical therapy is one of them. Physical therapists are qualified to evaluate and treat musculoskeletal conditions, including those affecting the spine.
Physical therapists use a variety of manual therapy techniques and exercises to relieve pain, improve mobility and prevent further injury. Physical therapy can reduce pain and improve mobility by strengthening muscles and improving flexibility. A physical therapist will teach you exercises and stretches that are safe for your condition.
A physical therapist can also help with back pain from poor posture by providing education on proper postural alignment and exercises designed to improve your posture and relieve any discomfort you may be feeling in your back or neck.
Chiropractors are experts at helping people with back pain. They use manual manipulation of the spine, joints, and extremities to treat musculoskeletal injuries, relieve pain and restore mobility. Chiropractic adjustments help reduce muscle tension in the neck and lower back, allowing blood flow to flow more freely through these areas.
Chiropractic adjustments also help alleviate many types of nerve irritation associated with chronic back pain. These adjustments help realign the spine and restore normal mobility to the joints, so they work properly once again. In addition, this helps relieve pressure from the nerves in your spinal column, which causes pain and discomfort throughout your body.
If you've been wondering if poor posture may be to blame for your chronic back pain, the answer is: yes, it probably is. But that doesn't mean that lifelong back pain is in your future! Poor posture can be a cornerstone of back problems, but our Manhattan pain management specialists are here to provide you with the personalized care you need.
While not easy, improving your posture and maintaining a better body alignment can help reduce your back pain and improve your health overall. Acting at the source of your pain is the best way to alleviate it, and correcting misaligned vertebrae will reduce neck, shoulder and back pain.