If you have a desk job, chances are that you spend much of your day hunched over a computer. Even if you don’t have a desk job, you probably don’t have perfect posture when you’re texting or scrolling through Facebook on your phone.
Heck, we’re sitting here typing right now and totally conscious that our posture could be improved on, but the question is, does bad posture cause back pain?
It seems to make sense that bad posture could be a reason for back pain. If you’re holding your body in a less than ideal position, wouldn’t that be bad for it? Couldn’t that be a cause of pain?
The thing is, a lot of people slouch and hunch from time to time. If that were a cause of back pain, almost all of us would have back pain; however, not everyone experiences back pain, so what gives?
It turns out that hunching over your computer can be a reason for back pain, but the pain isn’t caused by the hunching or slouching. It’s not poor posture that’s the problem.
The problem is that you’re sitting in the same position far too long. The problem is that you aren’t moving enough.
Eric Robertson, associate professor of clinical physical therapy at the University of Southern California, explains the problem and the solution in a way that makes complete sense. He says, “Imagine if you woke up one day and you never turned your head. Well, at the end of the day you wouldn’t be very good at turning your head left or right. It would feel stiff and uncomfortable.”
Are you staring at your computer in the same position for hours on end? Your muscles are stiff, and you need to move them. Stretching on a regular basis should help prevent your muscles from getting stiff and sore.
Dr. Robertson recommends yoga. He says, “All joints have a built-in range that they can go through, and they like to visit those ranges often. Think of something like yoga that’s been around for eons. One of the things it does is take people through a very wide range of motions.”
If you’re experiencing a twinge of back pain, try stretching, sign up for a yoga class, or try a few yoga poses when you get home from work.
If yoga and stretching don’t help, and if the pain doesn’t go away or gets worse, Dr. Robertson recommends seeing a physical therapist.
Do you have back pain?