Posture and Your Back Pain

Unless you have a congenital disease causing you back pain or if your back pain has arisen from a serious illness, for the vast majority of people any back pain that develops can frequently be attributable to their posture, in relation to their spine, in one way or another. The key significance of posture and back pain is the efficient distribution of your body weight around the body’s center of gravity, especially in the lower back/spine, both when at rest and moving.

Back pain, bad posture and bad habits.

In the vast majority of cases where back pain arises from bad posture it is invariably due to the person developing bad habits with their posture, which over a period of years they fail to correct. The bad habit causing the back pain could be something as simple as sitting in a slumped manner in chairs or being in the habit of hunching the back or shoulders when upright – all of which should be avoided if you want to avoid back pain. Also, being considerably overweight, not to mention obese, is a common factor causing bad posture, resulting in back aches and pains in modern America society. So, even the bad habit of eating more than our body’s really need should be avoided if you also want to avoid back pain.

Your muscles and your posture.

When it comes to avoiding back pains through bad posture you first have to understand the role that your muscles play in protecting you against back pain. Without getting into a creative design/evolution argument – a problem inherent in all of us regarding our muscles and our backs is that the spine simply wasn’t originally designed for upright walking. To this end, and to help avoid back pain, it is widely believed that strong back, chest and stomach muscles are required for a good upright walking posture, according to the spine that we have evolved with or inherited if you prefer. Whilst these muscles are important we are actually as reliant, if not more so, on the smaller muscles and ligaments deep inside our bodies that clad or surround the spine, to keep it upright and in good posture so as to avoid the risk of back pain; which they do by minimizing any compressions of the spine. In case you don’t already know, muscles don’t operate in isolation but are reliant on strong tendons joining the muscle to bone and ligaments that surround bone joints keeping them in place. So, in keeping a good posture and reducing back pain risks you have to make sure these deep seated muscles supporting your spine are ‘fit for purpose’ by exercising them, something which people with modern sedentary lives can forget to do.

Minimizing back pain by controlling your posture.

Going to the gym and building up your back, chest or abdominal muscles is one way to help improve your posture and reduce any back pain you might be experiencing. However, just how do you exercise those muscles deeper inside your body that are so important to having a good posture? The fact here is that the only way you can exercise those inner muscles is by maintaining a good posture. The spinal muscles control two types of movements: voluntary ones such as bending, rotating, lifting, carrying and pushing. They also control some involuntary, or sub-conscious ones, including: controlling our balance, maintaining our good/erect postures and, almost ironically, maintaining a good tone of the spinal muscles. Supplementary to this, there are some exercise techniques that can further help some people, like Pilates and some forms of yoga, to develop good spinal muscles. However, and to some extent following from the earlier comment, the single most effective way to properly exercise the muscles that both protect and support your back is to be constantly aware of your posture, adjusting and improving it – until the muscles strengthen and remove or reduce the back pain you’re feeling. This doesn’t just mean maintaining a straight back, level shoulders and head-up posture when standing or walking; but needs to also mean that you’re thinking about your posture when sitting or lying down and if you are overweight – dieting and exercising regularly. Using the references below, you can find further information on recommended postures but – remember this has to be a lifetime commitment if you truly want to banish that back pain for ever.

Here at we advise you to visit your medical consultant regarding any back pain, as it could require further investigation. In compiling this article we would also like to acknowledge the following references:

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