Proper Posture Prevents Back Pain


Poor posture (sitting, standing, or lying down) makes the back more vulnerable to injuries and back pain; weak or shortened muscles contribute to poor posture. Fatigue also contributes to poor posture and back pain.

Poor Posture and Back Pain

When the spine is not in proper alignment the muscles, ligaments and spinal joints all are under extra stress. Muscle strain is the most common cause of back pain due to poor posture.

Discs can also suffer from poor posture. When the spine is in proper alignment, the cushioning, shock absorbing discs that are in between the vertebrae are not overly stressed and not as subject to injury.

Lower back pain is the most common back pain caused by poor posture, as the lower back supports most of the weight of the body. However, poor posture can also cause upper back pain, especially in those who slouch. Neck pain is also common.

Strong Muscles for Proper Posture

Muscles support the spine. A weakness in any of the muscles that support the spine makes it difficult to maintain proper posture. Poor posture is a common cause of back pain due to muscle strain, especially lower back pain.

– Exercises that strengthen and stretch the muscles that support the spine help maintain proper posture. See Back Exercises.

The back muscles, ligaments & discs are under extra stress when the spine is not in proper alignment. Strong muscles help keep the spine in proper alignment and prevent back pain. Strong muscles also prevent the spine from extending beyond its normal range of motion, which is essential to protecting the ligaments and disks from injury.

Flexible Muscles for Proper Posture

Tight, shortened muscles in the back or buttocks can throw the spine out of alignment and cause back pain. Stretching the back muscles is important for good posture, but other muscles, such as shortened hamstrings (muscles in back of thigh), can also affect spinal alignment.
What is Good Posture?

Many people remember being told ‘Stand up straight’ or ‘Don’t slouch’ when they were children. Like ‘eat your vegetables’, this is still good advice.

The spine, however, is not actually straight. The healthy spine curves inward at the neck, outward at the chest, and inward at the lower back. These two curves balance each other to ensure that the pull of gravity is evenly distributed. If the curves of the spine are increased or decreased the muscles, ligament and joints have to work harder to support the weight of the head and body. This leads to fatigue, strain and back pain.

When standing, the center of the head, the shoulders, center of the body, knees and feet should line up vertically.


Common posture errors of the lower back that cause lower back pain:
Swayback – an increase in the natural inward curve of the lower back.
Flattened back – a decrease in the natural inward curve of the lower back.

Common posture error of the upper back that cause upper back pain:

Rounded or hunched shoulders – an increase in the natural outward curve of the upper back.

Common posture error that causes neck back pain:

Head Forward – ears in front of the shoulders, caused by a bent over position or hunching the shoulders.
The Lower Back Posture Errors

The positioning of the pelvis controls the curve of the lower back. The pelvis should be in a neutral position. If the pelvis tilts forward, sway back results (the natural inward curve of the lower back is increased). If the pelvis tilts backward, flattened back results (a decrease in the natural inward curve of the lower back). Control of the pelvis is key in keeping the lower spine in proper alignment and preventing lower back pain.

Like the spine, the pelvis is supported by muscles of the back, and abdomen and buttocks and strengthening these muscles helps maintain good posture and prevent back pain.

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Common Form-Technique Mistakes And Solutions


Using momentum during bicep curls

How to fix this:
This is a very common mistake. Many people try to use the momentum generated by swaying their bodies to help hoist the weights up toward their shoulders. This creates a lot of stress on the shoulder girdle, and if the weight is heavy enough, it can even knock you off balance. You will benefit more if you lift a lighter weight and isolate the bicep muscle. To reduce your chances of using momentum, perform the exercise while sitting on a bench or standing with your back against a wall.

Arching your back during a military press

How to fix this:
Think of squeezing your glute muscles while you are lifting the weight over your head. This should help bring your back into alignment and prevent what is commonly called a “sway back” position.

Not aligning your feet over your knees during squats

How to fix this:
This is a problem that can result in serious knee issues. A good way to prevent this is to always perform your squats in front of a mirror to ensure that you are placing your knees directly over your toes. You must only go down as far as is comfortable for you; if you try to go lower than your joints will allow you, your knees will move out of alignment.

Lifting your back off the bench during a bench press

How to fix this:
Whenever you lift a large amount of weight, it is a natural action to arch your back, as it feels like it helps you generate more force. While you may feel like you’re stronger, the increased risk of injury is significant. To prevent this from occurring, think of pressing the small of your back against the bench. If you can fit more than the width of your flat hand under your back, you need to lighten the weight. In addition, it is always a good idea to use a spotter for safety precautions during this exercise.

Arching your back during bent-over rows

How to fix this:
Look up while performing the exercise; this will help keep your spine in alignment. Also, if you perform it in front of a mirror, you can ensure that a “hump”
doesn’t form in your back. Instead, it should resemble a tabletop.

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