If your one of the 70-90% of Australians who experience back pain at some point in their life, than you understand the impact it can have you life. Back pain can have significant Impact on your daily activities, stopping you from exercising, playing with your kids, moving, lifting and over all movement. Of those who experience pain, 1 in 10 will suffer serious impairment in function or disability. For many they evaluate there spinal health on the presence of pain or not. Long before the onset of any pain dysfunction occurs, when left unattended this builds up creating pain and injury.
Posture is a indication of how well your body is holding itself up against gravity. And some people are loosing this battle. Your daily posture plays a significant role in this dysfunction. Poor posture leads to tightness in muscles, restriction in movement, de conditioning of strength, degeneration of joints and other health concerns such as heart disease and colon cancer. Prolonged sitting creates to common postural and biomechanical changes. When your body is stuck in one posture or position for more than 20minutes, it undergoes a process called creep. This is a lengthening or laxity of the bodies connective tissue, decreasing stability and strength in the body.
Their are two pain postural changes that present in a majority of the population. These contribute to either neck and shoulder pain or lower back pain.
Upper cross syndrome – occurs in the neck and shoulders, it presents with forward head carriage, muscle tension in the pectorals major and minor, sub occipitals weakness or decrease in strength in the anterior scalenes and lower trapezius.
Lower cross syndrome – presents in the hips and lower back. Is indicated by weak abdominals and gluteals muscle. Tension in the lumbar erector spinae and iliopsoas.
What causes the soreness is a process called ischaemia within the mucles. Constant muscle contraction caused by nerve signals in response to your posture, requires an increase in blood flow. If this blood flow is not meet the area experiences a reduction on blood and oxygen leading to the pain within muscles.
For most of us we believe that living with some form of pain or stiffness is normal and that their is nothing we can do to stop, below is a list of Five things you can do to stop
1- Sit up with you shoulders back. its seems such a simple concept but so many of us sit with our shoulders forward in a slumped position. This creates increased tension on muscles and joint stress.
- Regular exercise. The modern lifestyle is getting less and less active with more and more sitting. Incorporating regularly exercise and movement is a great way to stop the pain but also to help loose those extra kgs, sitting on your waist line. This can be anything from swimming, gym, body weight exercise or even walking.
- Regular stretching. This aims to stretch out the tight areas associated with either the upper and lower cross syndrome. sStretching of the tight muscles that occur in either the upper or lower cross syndrome, before the tension creates long term postural changes e.g. forward head carriage. Regular stretching is a great way to manage and prevent symptoms but also to improve circulation giving you more energy.
- Postural breaks at work. As much as you would love to not be stuck behind your desk, you still have to get work done. Getting up allows for your posture to change reducing the loads on and stress on your spinal joints and muscles.
- See a chiropractor. Of course seeking a professional who deals with the spine and posture is a great way to fix it. The advice above is great general advice, though seeing a chiropractor will allow you to get a more details and specific approach towards correcting your back pain.
Following these 5 things will help you reduce your back pain and improve your quality of life, giving years to life and life to years.
Yours in Health
Dr Nicholas Miller