Choice PT: How Posture Affects Back and Neck Pain

Move to Live Your Resource to Moving Well and Living Life


We’ve learned that incorporating a basic “set of rules” can significantly help in reducing lower back injuries. • Most people with sore backs feel like they always need to “stretch it out”. The lumbar spine itself should be mostly stable (it’s supposed to move but most of the time it’s moving excessively which causes injury...the muscles surrounding it go into a protective spasm which gives you the sense that you always need to stretch them out. It’s a short term band aid and not addressing the underlying issue, most of the time) • Your mid back (aka. Thoracic spine) should be fairly flexible however due to our common tendency to sit most of the day we stiffen up in the mid back. Increased stiffness in the mid back forces us to ask for a bit of extra motion from the lower back. A bit of extra motion, day after day, week after week, month after see where I’m going with this. • Lastly, our hips are ball and socket joints. They are meant to handle a HUGE amount of motion compared to other joints in our bodies. Just like our mid back, our hips also tend to tighten up due to sitting, footwear, etc. If you can keep your mid back and hips flexible while maintaining muscle memory & strength through your core muscles you should be much more resilient to that nagging lower back pain. Then it won’t matter how long you have to stand in line at the deli counter. Bring it on, inefficient deli counter numbering system, I can stand here all day. Have a great month! Joe

“Number 37!”

“Did he say 37?! I have number 45 and there’s only 3 other people standing here...” Your lower back has felt twisted up all day so you sigh and prop yourself over the handles of that sturdy Price Chopper grocery cart and “patiently” wait for number 45 to be called. All so you can get your pound of honey roasted turkey... constantly shifting your weight side to side to try and relieve some of the pressure off your back muscles. I’ve heard this story or a version of it many, many times before. You’re in good company. 80% of the population will experience back pain at one point or another in their lives. Furthermore, the best indicator for future injury is having a past injury. Therefore, once you’ve injured your back, you’re at increased risk for future back injury. Your lower back (or lumbar region) can be very complicated as it’s surrounded by many bones, joints, discs, ligaments, and muscles. Like other areas of the body, we’ve learned that pain in the lower back needs a two part assessment: 1. We need to figure out which tissue is injured and is causing the pain (Usually this is a muscle strain, related to arthritis of the spine, or could be related to irritation of the disc or nerves in your back) 2. We need to figure out what surrounding areas aren’t doing their job and therefore putting increased stress on the lower back region Luckily, as humans we tend to compensate in similar ways making it easier for people who study back injuries to uncover common themes.

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