Back Pain – the Importance of Posture.
One very important thing to address as far as back pain or sciatica is concerned is posture, how you hold yourself as you go about your day. This is something all therapists should address whenever they are giving you treatment for back pain because it has such a huge bearing on the amount of stress that is placed onto your muscles as you do the things you do.
By now you are probably over hearing me talk about a short leg and how it causes undue stress on the joints where a person feels pain. The reason I go on about it so much is because it often has so much to do with why you have pain and bad posture is one fast way to give yourself a short leg.
I often hear of doctors and therapists who tell their patients that everyone has a short leg and it has little bearing on pain, but I can assure you that is not the case.
They say the body is strong enough to withstand the pressure it causes and whereas for some people this may be true, for the large majority it is not, especially after a long period of time when poor circulation, common in back pain and sciatica sufferers, weakens critical muscles.
When the treatment given for back pain or sciatica is strengthening exercises and they work, it demonstrates that strength is a great counter for imbalance, but strengthening exercises can also irritate pain in many cases.
To benefit from a strengthening program a person can’t be suffering from acute back pain or sciatica and they need to have healthy responsive muscles which can cope with that exercise.
In today’s society there are many things about our lifestyle that make muscles unhealthy and dysfunctional. Things like: poor diet or a diet full of process ‘dead’ food, a lack of regular exercise, too much stress, carrying an imbalance in the muscles for a long time, or very importantly poor posture which has the effect of over loading the muscles in one part of the body. The end result if this is the muscles get weak and tight which in turn affects circulation and causes them to become even weaker.
The people who do tend to respond best to exercise programs for their back pain or sciatica are younger people who are naturally stronger and more supple and whose muscles haven’t deteriorated too much, generally because of their youth.
But this is also the time a lot of people begin to develop bad posture habits because they don’t feel the effects straight away and by the time they do the damage has been done and their back pain or sciatica has become chronic.
When you use an exercise program to strengthen against your pain, the benefits can be very short term if you are not also focusing on your posture. Both exercise and any treatment you get for your back pain or sciatica are generally only happening for a few hours a week, but your posture on the other hand is affecting you every moment you are sitting or standing and that can amount to 16 or more hours a day.
If you focus on having good posture, especially holding the symmetry in your body, and try to use the muscles on both sides of your body evenly, you will help to keep your spine straight and your pelvis balanced. This has a profound effect on minimising or avoiding any back pain or sciatica coming as a result of old injuries or trauma stored in your body.
It is the least stressful position for your muscles. By holding a good posture you can also more easily become aware of the areas of your body that are tight and not working properly and then go about working on them to take away any old trauma.
Slowly but surely you can eliminate these tight areas until your body is more supple and balanced and good posture is easier to maintain.
You can find more information on posture plus lots of other tips on better managing your back pain or sciatica yourself HERE
For now, always be thinking of your posture and see how much better it makes you feel.