Sitting for long hours can be quite a challenge for a lot of us. However, sitting in a bad posture could be much more destructive, say experts. Posture refers to the way an individual holds alignment of spine in the body with all its adjoining structures. It includes every single movement that a person makes. Poor posture puts your spine under a great deal of pressure.
“It is estimated that 80% of the population may experience a back problem at some point of time in their lives. These changes in the spinal curve can not only cause long-term pain and discomfort, but it can prevent your spine from being able to naturally absorb shock and maintain proper balance,” said Dr Avinash K.M, Senior Consultant, Neurosurgery and Interventional Neurosurgery, Columbia Asia Hospital, Bengaluru.
The spinal cord is a column of nerves that connects your brain with the rest of your body, allowing you to control your movements. Without a spinal cord, you could not move any part of your body, and your organs could not function.
There is another way to look at the importance of a healthy spine too- your spine health is vital if you want to live an active life. “To say the least, a good posture determines and suggests one’s inner well-being. It also suggests a strong state of mind and exudes confidence apart from also enforcing the structural integrity of your bones,” said Dr Supreet Bajwa, Secondary DNB resident, Orthopaedics at PD Hinduja Hospital and Medical Research Centre, Mumbai.
“You may not feel any ill-effect after sitting with poor posture for a few hours, but over time the stress it places on your spine can lead to anatomical changes in your spine. This in turn can provoke back pain through the constriction of your blood vessels and nerves,” said Dr Avinash.
He added, “We need to start practising good posture on a daily basis by training the body to stand, walk, sit, and lie in positions ensuring that the strain and stress is the least. In case a person is facing a constant nagging back pain or spreading of pain to the legs, it is advised to stop all activities leading to the stress and seek the advice of a doctor or physical therapist.”
A host of back and spine problems could be a result of poor posture. A list of 5 commonest problems:
Spinal Curvature: Serious issues that can occur with bad posture is developing a spinal curvature. The human spine has four natural curves that make up an “s” shape. The spine is specifically designed to help absorb shock and keep you balanced, but as the spinal position changes, this ability becomes compromised.
Subluxations: Vertebral subluxations occur when a vertebrae become misaligned from the rest of the spine. This affects the overall integrity of the rest of the spinal column. These misalignments can eventually cause chronic health problems including stress and irritation of surrounding spinal nerves.
Blood Vessel Constriction: The constriction of the blood vessels around the spine can cut off blood supply to the cells of the muscles, which can affect nutrient and oxygen supply. Blood vessel constriction can also raise your chances of clot formation and issues with deep vein thrombosis.
Nerve Constriction: One of the most common side effects of bad posture is nerve constriction. As the spine changes in shape, the resulting movements or subluxations can put pressure on the surrounding spinal nerves. Because the nerves that connect to the spine come from all over the body, these pinched nerves can not only cause neck and back pain but may also cause pain in other unrelated areas of the body.
Stenosis: Stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal. This can cause pain, numbness, weakness and other problems throughout your body.
Common examples include leg or arm pain when problems are related to the lower spine or neck.
Simple tips to help keep your spine as healthy as possible are:
Let your spine really rest while sleeping.
Exercise your core to strengthen abs and back muscles.
Your shoes need to support your spine.
Enjoy the benefits of massage.
Practice good ergonomics while sitting and limit total sitting time.
Correct your posture.