Back pain can ruin your day. Every step you take hurts. Getting out of bed can hurt. Sitting can hurt. It’s hard to escape back pain when the back is such an integral part of your daily life. A major step towards correction is finding the right posture for back pain relief.
And this is often the last thought that passes through a person’s mind.
Pain medications will only mask the pain, while posture correction can target the pain at the root and start to allow for a pain-free back.
Back Pain and Posture
Not all back pain is caused by bad posture. A person who’s overweight or has suffered from an injury likely won’t find relief from their back pain with a simple posture change, although it may help.
Maintaining posture for a long time is difficult, especially when a person is:
Desk workers and people in wheelchairs also need to be cognizant of their posture. Proper posture leads to a straighter back and healthier spine.
Why Correct Posture Matters
The back is under immense stress all day long. When you sit with a curvature, stand with your back hunched or simply don’t maintain proper posture, it will put:
- Strain on the lower back
- Strain on the middle back
- Increase the risk of joint damage
The proper posture for back pain relief will help to:
- Reduce strain on the lower and middle back
- Reduce the risk of joint damage
- Straighten the spine
You’ll also find that the proper posture will reduce fatigue, enhance breathing and improve a person’s sleep. Posture is the key to maximizing the efficiency of the back muscles and ensuring the general well-being of a person.
How to Improve General Posture
Proper posture while sitting and standing is vital to back health and a pain-free life. You can choose to use a variety of assistive devices to help maintain or promote proper posture, including:
You may also benefit from a corrective walking device, such as a cane or walker, if the reason for your bad posture is muscle weakness and compensation. A medical professional is the best source of advice for a customized, tailor-made posture plan that aims to help you maintain good posture when sitting and standing.
Exercises for Better Posture
Exercises can help you correct your posture through strengthening the muscles required for good posture. Your core muscles play an integral part in your posture, and if you need to improve your posture, it’s always good to start at the core.
And a strong core can help alleviate back pain, too, so it’s a win-win scenario.
You’ll want to start slowly and make sure that you adhere to your doctor’s advice before proceeding with any exercises that may pose a risk of injury.
A good starting point is the single leg extension.
Single Leg Extensions for Core Strength
Single leg extensions help you train your core muscles while also helping you learn how to stabilize the pelvis. This exercise can be performed by first laying on your back with your knees bent and hands behind your head.
Press your back into the floor and:
- Pull your navel in
- Pull one knee to your chest slowly
- Keep your low back pressed into the floor
- Extend the opposing leg to a 45-degree angle
- Lower and repeat on the other side
You’ll want to perform 5-10 reps on each side.
Plank pose is a great exercise that will help strengthen your: oblique muscles, shoulders and back. This pose is performed on the floor, and you’ll be much safer than performing a standing exercise.
You’ll want to start on your hands and knees, and:
- Extend both legs straight behind you
- Move into a pushup-like position
- Pull your abdomen in
- Stare at the floor
Hold this position until you feel fatigued, and then rest. Repeat and make sure that your lower back stays aligned versus sagging down toward the floor.
Over time, these two exercises will help you restore some of the strength in your core and ensure that you’re able to maintain a proper, healthy posture.
A few additional exercises that you can incorporate into your daily routine that aim to help alleviate back pain and promote good posture are:
- Cobra pose
- Pilates roll-up
- Modified crunches
When sitting, it’s also a good idea to focus on your posture at all times.
You don’t want to slouch or sit with a rounded back.
Using your lower back muscles, you want to straighten your back and ensure that your shoulders maintain proper alignment. Sitting properly or standing properly will help encourage better posture and will work on muscles that are weak.
Even if you can only sit fully erect for two minutes, it’s a start to proper posture and adequate back alignment.
Tim is a professional caregiver who has helped hundreds of seniors gain back their freedom and independence. He has been actively helping the senior community for 20+ years.