1. Allison

    I know that sitting for too long can cause back pain, but so can standing too long. I know some friends who are teachers and suffer back pain. The problem is mainly caused by poor posture and standing for long hours as teachers are not allowed to sit while teaching.
    To make matters worse, each class lasts for around 45 minutes and teachers hardly have any leisure. As a result, they cannot take enough rest. This increases the risk of developing a severe back ache. Well this is not technically a structural problem, I think that many years of standing in one position can lead to pain that is structural in nature. What are your thoughts on that?

    • Thanks for the question, Allison. I’m not a doctor. However, I do know that when standing for long hours, the entire weight of the upper body rests on the spinal cord. Due to this, the muscles get stressed and cause back pain. So, I do believe that you make an excellent point. The damage that prolonged sitting in the same position can cause is correctly a big concern. That said, standing too long in the same position, without the opportunity to take a break, can and does result in back pain. Thanks for reminding us that back pain comes from many sources and no one approach will resolve it. The encouraging news is that the pain management field now recognize a multi-approach to treating back pain. Thanks for checking in.

  2. Ellena

    I hope this isn’t off topic, but I’m just curious about the best sleeping position for good posture. I heard that sleeping on your stomach is really bad for your posture. I’m a bit concerned because my dad who doesn’t have the best posture likes to sleep on his stomach. I would love to get your take on this?

    • No worries, Ellena. Any question that helps my reader have a better understanding of posture and back pain is never off topic. You do have reason to be concerned if your father has bad posture because sleeping on his stomach will make it worse. Here is the deal. Lying flat on your stomach causes a lot of neck strain (since you have to turn your neck to a 90-degree angle in order to breathe) and flattens the natural curve of your spine, which could lead to lower back pain. If you sleep on your stomach, it’s highly advisable to train yourself to sleep on your side or back. So I would encourage you to speak to dad about changing his sleeping position. His back will thank you.

  3. Peter

    Thanks for this amazing post. I have heard that the development of pressure ulcers is likely to be influenced by an individual’s posture. Can you shed light on that as I have an elderly relative and I think that may be an issue? Also can you speak to the issue of nutrition and posture ulcers? Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Peter,

      Here’s the scoop. There is a relationship between sitting and Pressure ulcers. Also, between poor nutrition and risk of developing Ulcers. Let’s talk about the first issue. When a person is seated the contact area is smaller than when resting in bed and, therefore, the risk of PU development can be greater. Thus, it’s important to ensuring that any seating for the elderly is of the the correct dimensions. For example, he or she is not sliding off the chair. A chair that can be adjusted to correctly fit will reducing the risk of pressure ulceration.

      Here is how poor is associated with the risk of developing pressure ulcers.where a person has difficulty in maintaining an appropriate posture for eating and drinking–and thereby taking in adequate nutrition–he or she is at greater risk of developing pressure ulcers. I hope that answers your question.

  4. I have been following your series of articles and really appreciate all the information you have provided on posture. I do believe that posture can have a big impact on your health and keeping your body in symmetry is important for posture. It seems like the muscles play a big role in keeping the body balanced. I know that many people are either right handed or left handed, does this play a role in how the muscles on each side develop and should you work harder to keep the weaker side as strong to help with the structural balance of your body?

    • That’s a great question, Dena. Handedness can have a definite impact on posture and the risk for developing musculoskeletal injuries; however, that is in very rear circumstances. For the most part, if people avoid things like cross-fit training–which overuses muscles to the point of injury– they will be okay. This is not to be confused with cross-training which just means exercising by using different sports. This is good because it means different muscles get to be used and developed. In short, for most of us it doesn’t matter if we are right handed or left handed. Our body will tell us if something is wrong. It’s up to us to pay attention to what our body is telling us. For example, if you’re constantly having bad posture that results in back pain it could mean you’re core muscles are weak and need to be strengthened so that they can better support your back. I hope this helps.

  5. Thank you for such an informative and helpful article on posture, I know most of us need to pay more attention to our posture.

    Can posture by any chance decrease back pain from nerve pain caused by pinched nerves?

    If so how can I use posture to decrease my nerve pain?


    • Hi Jeff,
      A pinched nerve may be caused by or made worse by poor posture. Sitting or standing with an incorrect posture for extended periods puts unnecessary stress on the body, which may damage the spine and muscles, leading to a pinched nerve. Thus, using cushions, adjustable chairs, and neck rests when sitting may help relieve pressure and allow the nerve to heal.

      Also, using a standing desk or a bookstand when reading can help.

  6. This is very interesting, and something very new to me. I never knew structural posture problem can lead to serious health problems.

    How do we find out if we have this posture issue? Can we check on our own at home? (hate to visit doctor)

    And when we have minor structural problems, are there simple physical therapies we can do at home to improve it?

    • Hi Tim,
      In most cases minor structural problems are a result of weak core muscles. Your core stabilizes you and when it’s weak it can’t support your back. This can create muscle imbalance that results in annoying but not excruciating back pain. The simple physical therapy for this is to strengthen your core through exercising. Doing the plank, you can see several versions of it on the internet, is a good start. That said, any good exercise that will strengthen your core will most likely help you correct any muscle imbalance. Unfortunately, major structural problems, which often happen as a result of an accident, will have to be addressed by a medical professional or physical therapist that can design a recovery program for you to follow.

      • Thank you so much for your kind advice and information, Thabo. I have seen the plank exercises and watched some videos of that. I will try that.

        Is yoga good for core too?

        • Yes, Yoga can be excellent for core. You can engage your abdominal muscles with core yoga poses that build a strong and stable center like Boat Pose, Dolphin Pose and Side Plank Pose.But to make things easier for your self just research key words like “Core strength with Yoga poses” or “Yoga for Core” and you’ll find videos demonstrating the most common yoga poses for core. You can then decide which poses work best for you. That said, do careful research. While Yoga is generally good for your spinal health, there are certain poses that are not good for your back. So, stick with only poses that are designed to strengthen your core because that means they will also be good for your back.

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