By now we have all begun to adapt to our new lifestyle amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. It is pretty remarkable how quickly we can alter our daily lives to fit the ongoing changes that 2020 has brought on. For better or worse, much of these changes are centered around technology. We now rely heavily on platforms like Zoom and Facetime for e-learning, working virtually from home, and even connecting socially with family and friends. Though technology has made all of this possible, it does have one major downfall: promoting poor posture.
Many people experience back pain and, as you may know, symptoms can vary. Sometimes back pain is sharp and located off to one side. Pain can also be isolated to the low back or travel into the buttock or down the leg. Oftentimes, pain occurs with certain positions or movements. Although the source of back pain can be located in the lumbar spine, it can also be related to a joint where the spine meets the pelvis, called the sacroiliac joint.
Working from home has been a major change in many people’s life during 2020. One of the downsides may be the increased sedentary time. Unless you have committed to a daily exercise routine, you may lose activities such as walking to your car and walking into the office, doing a flight of stairs to get in your building, or rushing over to a meeting down the hall. With winter on the way, it may be even more difficult to get in a walk outside at lunch. Here are ten stretches and activities that you can do to improve posture throughout the day, increase your activity level, and decrease pain from constantly sitting.
Upper cross syndrome and lower cross syndrome are terms heard within the world of medicine that, on the surface, sound a little intimidating. However, each term simply refers to muscle weakness and tightness in certain areas of the body that may be contributing to pain and/or reduced functional level. Each “syndrome” entails two predominant areas of muscle tightness and two predominant areas of muscle weakness. Often times, these limitations occur as a result of impaired posture and can lead to pain. Once identified, both upper cross and lower cross syndromes can be effectively treated and managed with physical therapy care.
Low back pain is one of the most common ailments treated in outpatient physical therapy clinics today. Back pain can be debilitating and negatively affect quality of life to a large degree, and as a younger individual, it is something that is not often thought of as a potential injury. Yet, low back pain is fairly common in the younger population; up to 10-25% of the population in their late teens to early 40s report back pain. In this age group, low back is commonly described in the research as “non-specific back pain,” meaning back pain does not have a known cause or correlation to MRI or X-Ray imaging. Most acute, non-specific back pain usually resolves on its own within 6 weeks and with appropriate rest, good nutrition, light activity and a positive outlook, you can help manage the severity of your pain.
A common misconception is to rest when experiencing low back pain, but in certain instances that couldn’t be further from the truth. Taking the route of exercise that is both comfortable and sustainable can help to reduce back pain and improve overall fitness and mobility.
It is important to know that although it may be painful now, it can get better with time and with some dedicated work. Outlined below are a few exercises that you can apply to help ease some of your symptoms. Some of these exercises will be movement-based, and some will be designed to provide strength or stability to the regions around the low back. Understand that not all of these exercises will be the right fit for you, based on your current fitness level or comfortability with the exercises, but you will likely be able to find something that works, and eventually you might be able to advance your choices.
With the start of the school year approaching, many students are returning to e-learning formats. Students are commonly not used to sitting in front of a computer all day for school learning. Within the in-person environment, students aren’t always in front of a computer screen and generally move in the classroom or when they switch classrooms. With e-learning at home, students may be more sedentary. Neck and back pain complaints are often seen after periods of prolonged sitting, especially with poor posture. Parents and students can use these tips to help in preventing back and neck pain as students return to e-learning this year.
How many times have you heard from your elders to “Sit up straight” or “Stop slouching.” We often hear these phrases growing up and many others like them. But how much does our posture relate to the development of back pain? Growing up, I always thought it was very important and as I began my training as a physical therapist, that was reaffirmed. However, as I became more of an orthopedic expert, I realized it is not nearly as important as we were told.