How your posture is causing you back pain

Posture; we have all heard our parents or grandparents tell us to sit up straight when we were kids. Do you know what? They were right. 

 

I remember when I started working as a chiropractor in 2006, the 2 most common conditions I treated were lower back pain and upper back pain that could travel into the neck with or without headaches. At that time, these two conditions were and still are the biggest complaints I treat. In a normal day, I would treat lower back and upper back pain at about a 50:50 ratio. Since then, things have significantly changed, as I treat upper back pain more often at about at 70-30 ratio. 

 

Some questions I ask myself. What has changed? Do people have less lower back pain now? What can we do to minimize our risks? 

 

What has changed? 

This is simple. Technology! Just walking around, you cannot go 50 feet in public without seeing 2-3 people with their heads bent forward and down looking at their phones. Also, this is starting at a much younger age. Kids get laptops, tablets, cell phones as young as 3-4 years old. Sadly, all of these promote poor posture and with lack of body awareness, this starts the negative cascade of postural strain that will most likely lead to upper back pain. For this reason, I see an increased amount in “young” patients at the clinic then ever before. Most patients under 25 years of age come with a complaint of upper back pain. 

 

Do people have less lower back pain now? 

Today, in practice, I treat upper back ailments more often than lower back conditions. It could leave some to believe that the population has taken the appropriate steps to decrease lower back conditions. Sadly, I feel that this is not the case at all. It’s my observation that lower back cases are just as prevalent as ever, but the “upper back strains” have multiplied significantly in the last 10 years. In other words, we have just as many lower back patients, but we have significantly more upper back patients. 

 

What can we do to minimize our risks? 

Firstly, I would be to limit screen time and any other activities that promote poor posture. For some this is more difficult as some rely on computers for work. That said, this would be my best advice. 

 

Start by consulting a health professional to begin correcting the issue. Whether it’s chiropractic to help increase spinal mobility, massage therapy to decrease the muscle tightness, physiotherapy to correct functional imbalances or even a combination of these. Once musculoskeletal mechanics are improved, it is much easier to maintain your condition. 

 

Here are a few suggestions to help maintain your condition. 

Improved ergonomics (sitting more neutral, sit/stand desks, proper office set-ups) 

Periodic treatment (chiro, massage, physio) 

– Stretching (such as Yoga, postural mobility) 

Regular exercises (keep you core muscles strong) 

 

At the end of the day, we need to actively make changes in order to improve the situation. Technology is not going anywhere, so we need to adapt to minimize those risk factors. 

 

If you or someone you know requires help for this condition or any other musculoskeletal conditions, don’t hesitate to give us a call at Rehab1 at any of our three locations.

 

Dr. Mathieu Hebert graduated from New York Chiropractic College (NYCC) in 2005, and his interest in helping others started at a young age when he was successfully treated for back pain by a chiropractor at the age of 13. Dr. Hebert is a diversified chiropractor integrating spinal and joint manipulation with other therapeutic interventions such as Active Release Techniques (ART), Shockwave Therapy, custom orthotics and many more. As an avid athlete, Dr. Hebert remains keenly interested in the management of athletic injuries and performance enhancement. However, Dr. Hebert enjoys providing care to a wide array of individuals that suffer from injuries and conditions affecting the musculoskeletal system.

Dr. Hebert married his lovely wife Christine in 2012 and both continue to enjoy CrossFit and travelling together.

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