What is Your Lower Back Pain Telling You? Hint: It Might be Related to Poor Posture
You’ve been sitting at your office workstation all morning, intently finishing up an important client’s project. Getting up to take a well-deserved break, you nearly shout out in pain, as you are greeted by a sharp “twinge,” or the dull throbbing ache, of lower back pain. But take comfort in the fact you are not alone, as most of us will eventually suffer from the common curse of lower back pain.
The symptoms can be temporary or permanent, and persistent lower back pain is usually due to aging, overuse, or some past trauma; like a car accident, fall or sports injury. Once a person is afflicted, medical experts agree that poor posture can aggravate lower back pain. Today’s lifestyles and occupational settings don’t help, like lower back pain sufferers, at our workplaces, are subjected to countless hours every day standing, slouched in front of a computer, or crammed behind a vehicle’s wheel.
Having said all that, wouldn’t it be great if our bodies could tell us when we were putting ourselves at risk for lower back pain flare-ups? And especially when identifying, and then correcting, our poor posture might make a difference in relieving debilitating lower back pain discomfort.
Understanding Acute vs. Chronic Lower Back Pain
Medically, there are two types of lower back pain, acute and chronic. Acute, as the name suggests, is short-term, lasting for less than three months at a time. Acute lower back pain may flare-up in situations such as during an expectant mother’s pregnancy, or when you decide to spend several hours one sunny day doing yard work while bending uncomfortably from the waist.
Low back pain is your body’s way of alerting you that stress from overuse has taken place to your lower spine’s surrounding muscles, tendons and ligaments. Chronic, or persistent, lower back pain lingers for more than 90 days and is caused by more serious, underlying conditions. According to WebMD, these causative factors may include:
- Herniated discs
- Compression fractures
- Persistent overuse, strain or injury
- Prior back surgery
Both chronic and acute lower back pain may also be accentuated by poor posture, and especially over extended periods of time, which we will address more in a moment.
These Factors can Exacerbate Lower Back Pain
WebMD further identifies these lifestyle characteristics which are risk factors for intensifying a sufferer’s existing lower back pain, or causing it to reappear over time:
- Not exercising and strengthening core trunk muscles regularly
- Doing a job that requires heavy lifting, long intervals of standing or sitting, or repetitive motions that involve bending and twisting of the body
- Smoking tobacco products
- Being subjected to a lot of stress
- Having poor posture
Looking at WebMD’s list, the easiest of these to correct appears to be the last one; addressing your poor posture. In fact, studies have found that improving your posture not only can help reduce back pain, but also lower stress, and make you feel and appear more successful, healthy and energetic! Furthermore, there is evidence that using proper posture may even lead to a happier life.
Treating Lower Back Pain Includes Using Proper Posture
According to the well-respected Mayo Clinic’s website, there are a number of ways to treat lower back pain, including surgery, manipulating the area, and medications. However, one of the simplest methods they recommend, which certainly may help alleviate the pain, is correcting one’s posture.
Not only might proper posture help relieve the symptoms and help prevent recurrences of lower back pain episodes, but there are a number of other documented benefits derived from keeping one’s shoulders down and back, with an erect spine, and your head and chin up. The first step in improving your standing or sitting posture begins by learning what good posture should look like.
Start “Listening” to Your Body with Lumo Lift Posture Coach
Remember earlier in this article when it was mentioned it would be beneficial if your body could tell you when lower back pain was going to “speak up”? At Lumo, we’ve developed smart sensor and software technology that allows your body to literally “communicate” with you. One facet of this is how our Lumo Lift Posture Coach might reduce the likelihood of lower back pain through real-time analysis and tracking of your posture.
Lumo Lift is a magnetic sensor that wears easily like a lapel pin, and sends data to a free, downloadable iOS or Android app for later review. In addition, Lumos’s wearable posture sensor vibrates gently to alert you, throughout the day, whenever you are slouching, and to remind you to use proper posture when standing or sitting down. In other words, “You slouch, it vibrates!”
Our Lumo Lift Posture Coach is not designed to treat or cure your lower back pain, but it definitely may help reduce the symptoms by assisting you in maintaining proper posture on the way to a more healthier, and vibrant, you!