Posture Awareness & Back Pain: Regain Your Strength & Flexibility

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For individuals trying to achieve healthy posture, could using posture awareness training be effective in treatment and prevention?

Posture Awareness

Spinal curves help support the body’s weight, movement, and balance. Five areas include the neck, upper back, lower back, sacrum, and coccyx. The bottom of the spine or sacrum rests between the two hip bones that comprise the pelvis. Because of this location, the movements made with the pelvis significantly affect the spine. (Ibrahim Alkatout, et al., 2021) When the pelvis moves, the spine moves.

  • Posture-related back pain and associated symptoms are often caused by a weakened strength and flexibility ratio between the opposing muscle groups that hold the body upright.
  • Achieving healthy posture requires technique and consistent practice for maintaining a healthy pelvis and low back curve. (DeokJu Kim, et al., 2015)
  • Finding the low back curve and exploring how it responds when moving the pelvis is important to effective posture awareness training.

Lower Back Curve Awareness Exercise

One important thing to do to increase postural awareness is to become aware of the low back curve. (Arkadiusz Łukaz Żurawski, et al., 2020)

Sit On a Firm Chair or Stool

  • So that the weight is planted into the seat in a balanced way.

Hold Onto the Arms of the Chair

  • If the chair doesn’t have arms, hold onto the edge of a desk/workstation or the sides of the chair seat.
  • This will support the back when moving the pelvis.
  • Maintaining core abdominal strength is key to preventing back injury. (Erika Zemková, Ludmila Zapletalová. 2021)

Movement

  • Tilt the pelvis forward.
  • In this position, notice the slightly exaggerated arch in the lower back and the increase in lower back muscle tension.
  • A moderate amount of this increase and exaggeration is normal.

Relax Back to the Start Position

Sitting upright with the hip bones/top of the pelvis directly above the bottom.

  • Next, tilt the pelvis back.
  • The abs may have to work hard to support this position
  • Use your hands against the chair for support.
  • Check the lumbar curve area, noticing if it has flattened out.
  • Notice the tension in the back muscles.
  • Is it a little looser? This is normal.

Relax Back to the Start Position

  • Sitting upright.
  • Repeat the sequence again.
  • This time, when in the forward position, pause briefly and slide a hand between the lower back and the back of the chair or the wall.
  • When in the backward position, there will be little to no space between the lower back and the seatback or wall.

Problems

  • If there are problems moving the pelvis back and forth, imagine a basket or bowl of fruit.
  • The pelvis has a round shape and is open at the top, like a bowl or basket.
  • Imagine the fruit is placed toward the front of the bowl, and the weight brings the bowl/pelvis forward.
  • To go back, imagine the fruits are placed toward the back.
  • The weight causes the bowl to roll backward.
  • This may help to get the rhythm of the movement.

This posture awareness exercise can be used as a posture muscle builder by doing it with the back against the wall.

  • A more challenging position for this exercise is standing against a wall.
  • Keep the heels against the baseboard to really work the abs.
  • Start with sitting and gradually to standing.

Foot Motion and Posture


References

Kim, D., Cho, M., Park, Y., & Yang, Y. (2015). Effect of an exercise program for posture correction on musculoskeletal pain. Journal of physical therapy science, 27(6), 1791–1794. doi.org/10.1589/jpts.27.1791

Alkatout, I., Wedel, T., Pape, J., Possover, M., & Dhanawat, J. (2021). Review: Pelvic nerves - from anatomy and physiology to clinical applications. Translational neuroscience, 12(1), 362–378. doi.org/10.1515/tnsci-2020-0184

Żurawski, A. Ł., Kiebzak, W. P., Kowalski, I. M., Śliwiński, G., & Śliwiński, Z. (2020). Evaluation of the association between postural control and sagittal curvature of the spine. PloS one, 15(10), e0241228. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0241228

Zemková, E., & Zapletalová, L. (2021). Back Problems: Pros and Cons of Core Strengthening Exercises as a Part of Athlete Training. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(10), 5400. doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18105400

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The information herein on "Posture Awareness & Back Pain: Regain Your Strength & Flexibility" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

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Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, acupuncture, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.

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