Why does slumping at your desk contribute to lower back pain?
Why does slumping at your desk contribute to lower back pain? 14 Aug 2019
We all know that we should maintain good posture when sitting rather than slumping (poor posture) to avoid lower back pain, but why?
The human spine is an upright bendy column and in someone with good posture it’s an S shape. With perfect posture a straight line can be drawn through the ear, the tip of the shoulder, the front of the knee joint and the back of the ankle.
The spine is made of 24 vertebrae or segments. If we look at the S shape it consist of the cervical lordosis which is the arch in the neck, this is followed by the thoracic kyphosis which is an arch in the chest in the opposite direction, this is then followed by the lumbar arch or lumbar lordosis which is the hollow in the lower back.
Perfect lumbar lordosis (or perfect arch in your lower back) helps
Ensure the correct distribution of your body weight
Allows your lower back to bow forwards slightly when walking to absorb the impact during walking
The lumbar lordosis lessens when we are sitting as our pelvises tip backwards on to the sitting bones and increases when we stand. This explains why some people with lower back pain feel worse when sitting and better when standing. Furthermore sitting for long periods of time in a slumped “C” shaped posture, changes our weight distribution through our spine, compressing the lumbar vertebra which often leads to lower back pain.
So what is good sitting posture?
When seated, keep these tips in mind:
Choose a chair that allows you to rest both feet flat on the floor while keeping your knees level with your hips. If necessary, prop up your feet with a footstool or other support.
Sit back in your chair. If the chair doesn't support your lower back's curve, place a rolled towel or small pillow behind your lower back.
Stretch the top of your head toward the ceiling, and tuck your chin in slightly.
Keep your upper back and neck comfortably straight.
Keep your shoulders relaxed — not elevated, rounded or pulled backward.
Although good posture should be natural, you might feel wooden or stiff at first if you are used to slumping rather than sitting up straight. The key is to practice good posture all the time, and be extra vigilant when you are really concentrating, getting tired or its late in the day. You can make improvements at any age. Stretching and core strengthening exercises can help, too.
And if you have got lower back pain, why not try massage.