Do you experience nagging back or neck pain every time you workout? You are not alone. Many active individuals experience back and neck pain when working out or being active. Contrary to common belief, falls, twists, or accidents are not the only causes of this pain. Nagging back and neck pain can be caused by poor posture when sitting.
Bad posture creates strain on the body.
Each day, we tend to sit often. We sit in the car, at work, at home watching TV, and even at the gym between exercises. If you look at your posture while sitting, you will likely see a slouched back, an extended forward neck, and rounded shoulders. Our spinal discs, joints, ligaments, and muscles support our bodies throughout our day, but continuous bad posture puts strain on our back and neck and causes nagging pain. The good news is that simply improving your posture while sitting can prevent and minimize nagging pain.
So, where do you start?
It is important to evaluate your current posture when sitting. Look at how both your lower back and neck are positioned. Is your lower back slouched, creating a “C” shape? Are your head and neck sitting slightly forward? These are signs of poor posture.
How do you improve posture?
To begin improving your posture, sit up as tall as you can with an exaggerated arch in your lower back to achieve good posture, and then back it off about 10%. This position is how you should be sitting all the time – at the gym, in the car, at work, and at home.
Good posture can be challenging at first. We recommend that you support your lower back
with a lumbar roll (something as simple as a towel rolled up) and place it in the small of your back while sitting.
The posture of your neck is just as important as your back’s posture. Sit up tall and draw your shoulder blades back slightly and gently bring your head and chin straight back slightly. It will feel uncomfortable at first, but it will feel more comfortable and become “normal” over time.
Your posture can be positively or negatively impacted by your office workstation setup. Click here to find some tips on setting up your workstation from the US Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
What does good neck posture look like when sleeping?
When you sleep, you may also want a small towel rolled and placed in the curve of your neck next to your current pillow to promote good neck posture while sleeping. To learn more about how the way you sleep (on your stomach, back, or side) affects your health click here.
Achieve good posture by following the recommendations above while in the car, at home, and at work. As your posture improves, the nagging pain in your back and neck should decrease so you can return to pain-free workouts and doing the things you love.
What are non-surgical alternatives to manage neck pain.
There are a number of non-surgical alternatives to managing head and neck pain including trigger point injections. To read about these options click this link.
If you continue to experience nagging pain after correcting your posture, schedule an appointment with the spine specialists at Orthopedic Institute and together create a personalized care plan for your back, neck, or spine pain or injury.
Visit Orthopedic Institute for any bone, joint, or muscle pain or injury.