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Is Posture Actually Causing Back Pain?

Posture is the way in which we hold our body, it could be a good upright posture, a pain avoiding skewed posture, a leaning forwards posture. As you can see posture varies tremendously on a moment to moment basis. With these changes, so to do the forces that run through our bodies. Different postures will focus pressure and stress onto different structures, be they the bones and joints, or the muscles.

When we think of posture, in terms of back pain, we typically think of our “resting” or “neutral” posture. This is to say, the posture that we adopt when sitting, standing and walking. Naturally there are variations between these positions and everyone will have slight nuances in their posture.

Generally speaking, the postures that we adopt are somewhat lifelong and we will have built up supporting strength and tightness, to effectively maintain that posture. However, when injury occurs and back pain sets in, we should always make considerations with regards to our posture. Preferentially, considering “good” or “efficient” posture would be done long before any injuries, but frequently it is not.

It’s inarguable that different postures exert different forces on the human body as mentioned earlier. When we have a lower back injury we want to avoid unnecessary loading through tissues and structures involved in the injury. Therefore considering the posture is paramount. As small changes can have a significant benefit or cost, to the overall recovery process, as well as your pain in general.

In short, some approximation of the anatomical position is the one which will exert the most efficient force transference through our body. At very least aiming to stack your head over your shoulders, over your hips and over your heels would be a good starting point (when standing obviously). A similar adoption of head over shoulders over hips, sitting on the sitting bones, not your sacrum, is optimal when in the seated posture.

If you are someone struggling with your lower back pain then one of the early steps you can take in conjunction with your rehabilitative exercises, is to start getting your posture a little more efficient. This will involve effort to begin with, but in the medium to long term it will pay off!

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