Stand Tall, Live Pain-Free: How Movement and Good Posture Can Save Your Back
Maintaining good posture is often associated with preventing back pain and promoting overall health. While it is true that proper posture is important, it is not the only factor to consider. Many people spend long hours sitting at a desk or standing in the same position, which can lead to muscle stiffness and discomfort. The key to avoiding these problems is not necessarily perfect posture, but rather regular movement and changing positions throughout the day. When we maintain the same posture for extended periods of time, it puts unnecessary stress on our muscles and joints, leading to pain and discomfort. Therefore, it's important to recognize that the way we move and the amount of time we spend in any one position can have a significant impact on our musculoskeletal health.
Prolonged flexion of the spine, such as when working at a computer for long periods, can have significant physiological and biomechanical effects on the musculoskeletal system. When the spine is flexed for long periods, it puts a significant amount of pressure on the intervertebral discs, which can lead to decreased circulation and nutrition to the discs, resulting in degeneration and potentially painful conditions such as herniated discs. Additionally, the back muscles will adapt to the flexed position and may become weakened or imbalanced, leading to postural issues and further strain on the spine.
Moreover, prolonged flexion can also impact other areas of the body, including the rib cage, diaphragm, and abdominal organs. The rib cage may become compressed, which can lead to decreased lung capacity and potential respiratory issues. The diaphragm, a dome-shaped muscle that separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity and plays an important role in breathing, may also become inhibited or weak in a flexed position. This can lead to decreased oxygenation and potentially exacerbating respiratory problems. Additionally, when the spine is flexed, the abdominal cavity may become compressed, which can lead to digestive issues or other problems.
To prevent these issues, it's important to take regular breaks and incorporate movement throughout the day. This can include taking short walks, stretching, and changing positions frequently. Exercises that strengthen the back and core muscles can also help to maintain proper posture and reduce the risk of injury or pain. Additionally, proper ergonomics can play a significant role in promoting musculoskeletal health when working at a computer or in a sedentary job. This can include adjusting the height and angle of the computer monitor and keyboard, using a supportive chair, and ensuring that the feet are placed flat on the ground. By incorporating these strategies, we can help to mitigate the negative effects of prolonged flexion on our bodies and maintain good overall health.
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Remember that the main issue is most probably NOT the posture but the lack of movement during your day, or the fact that you are 80-90% of your time leaning in a flexion!
AN EXAMPLE OF 15MIN EXERCICES TO PREVENT BACK PAIN
1) Cat-Cow Stretch (1 minute): Start on your hands and knees with your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Inhale and arch your back, lifting your head and tailbone towards the ceiling (cow pose). Exhale and round your spine, tucking your chin to your chest and bringing your tailbone towards your knees (cat pose). Repeat for 1 minute.
2) Bird Dog (1 minute each side): Begin on your hands and knees with your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Reach your right arm straight out in front of you and your left leg straight out behind you. Hold for a few seconds and then bring your elbow and knee towards each other under your body. Repeat for 1 minute and then switch sides.
3) Superman (1 minute): Lie on your stomach with your arms and legs extended. Lift your arms, chest, and legs off the ground and hold for a few seconds. Lower back down and repeat for 1 minute.
4) Plank (1 minute): Begin in a push-up position with your hands directly under your shoulders and your body in a straight line from head to heels. Hold for 1 minute, engaging your core and back muscles.
5) Side Plank (1 minute each side): Begin in a side plank position, with your elbow under your shoulder and your feet stacked on top of each other. Hold for 1 minute and then switch sides.
6) Bridge (1 minute): Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Lift your hips towards the ceiling, squeezing your glutes and engaging your core. Hold for a few seconds and then lower back down. Repeat for 1 minute.
7) Repeat one more time!
8) Resting: lie on your back with the legs up at 90° on a chair. During 1 to 15 minutes.
By performing this 15-minute exercise routine regularly (3-4x a week), you can improve your back and core strength, reduce the risk of injury or pain, and maintain proper posture. It's important to listen to your body and make modifications as needed, and to consult with a healthcare provider before starting a new exercise program.
While these exercises can be beneficial for improving back and core muscles, it's always a good idea to seek guidance from a healthcare professional such as an osteopath. They can provide you with more specific advice and tailored exercises that address your individual needs and any underlying conditions. In addition, an osteopath can help identify any imbalances or areas of weakness that may be contributing to your discomfort or pain, and work with you to develop a comprehensive plan for improving your overall physical health. By incorporating regular osteopathic treatment and following a personalized exercise program, you can reduce your risk of injury, maintain proper posture, and achieve optimal health and wellness.