- Why are faulty posture and a round back bad?
- How to get rid of back pain between the shoulder blades and straighten round back?
- How to get the right posture while sitting?
- Tips and tricks to avoid the negative effects of prolonged sitting
- How to avoid lower back pain?
Why are faulty posture and a round back bad?
Poor posture tends to be the main cause of back pain, pain between the shoulder blades and lower back pain. In extreme cases, it can cause headaches, hip and shoulder pain.
Suboptimal posture occurs in all aspects of our lives, most commonly when sitting, whether at the computer, on the couch, or on the bed with a book. Lying on the stomach, lifting heavy loads incorrectly, walking (with incorrect posture), and household activities such as vacuuming and washing dishes also contribute to poor posture.
Prolonged poor posture weakens the muscles of the back, and in turn shortens the muscles of the front of the torso. The blood supply to the muscles of the chest and front of the trunk is reduced. Gradually, the lower back and the whole trunk become weak and stiff.
During poor posture, different pressure and tension is exerted on different areas of the spine and spinal muscles. This prolonged overloading leads to unpleasant medical and cosmetic complications such as bulging discs, round backs (postural kyphosis), arched lower backs (postural lordosis) and scoliosis.
Faulty posture is mainly caused by muscle imbalances, which is why the most effective treatment is to stretch overstretched muscles, strengthen weakened muscles and focus on activating deep stabilizing muscles.
How to get rid of back pain between the shoulder blades and straighten round back?
Kyphosis (round back) caused by poor posture is reversible at a younger age. For a noticeable correction and a long term result, you only need to do a few simple exercises regularly. Exercise slowly and remember to breathe.
This exercise strengthens the inter scapular muscles and spinal extensors, engages the abdominal muscles and stretches the front of the trunk.
- Lie on your stomach on the floor.
- Place your forehead on the floor and place your arms at right angles, palms down, with your elbows no higher than your shoulders.
- Exhaling, lift the upper half of the torso, head and arms off the ground. The back is slightly arched, the buttocks are relaxed, tighten the abdominal and mid-body muscles. Turn your palms outwards so that the edge of the pinky points upwards.
- Breathe in and come back out.
- Repeat 10 times
This exercise is ideally done standing, but you can also sit with your back straight in a chair.
You can use a rubber band for more resistance, but you won’t need anything to get started. The exercise stretches the front of your torso, shoulder and chest muscles while strengthening the inter scapular muscles.
- Stand/sit down and straighten up.
- Extend your arms out in front of you at shoulder height, palms facing the ground. Keep your arms extended throughout the exercise.
- Extend your arms. Move slowly. Slowly rotate your palms outwards and backwards during the movement so that the pinky is facing the ceiling.
- Try to spread your arms as far apart as you can, concentrating on the muscles between the shoulder blades. Don’t swing your arms, try to pull them in using only your back muscles.
- Slowly return to the starting position.
- Repeat 10 times.
For this exercise you will need a towel, grasp it so that you can put your arms above your head without letting go. The exercise stretches the brachial plexus of the shoulder muscles, and the entire upper arm.
- Stand up and grasp the towel in front of your body. The grip should be only slightly wider than shoulder width, but adjust it so that you don’t experience any uncomfortable pain or drop the towel during the movement.
- Keep your arms down and outstretched.
- Start with your whole, straight arms lifted up until you are upright, trying to get your arms as far as you can. No wobbling and no sharp pain.
- Hold for a moment in the outermost position.
- Return to the starting position.
- Repeat 10 times.
How to get the right posture while sitting?
Poor sitting posture leads to a slight forward bending of the spine (kyphosis), which over time puts pressure on the spinal discs of the lower back, causing them to bulge.
In order to have the correct sitting posture, it is first necessary to find the correct posture (or sitting position):
- First, sit on the edge of the chair
- Keep your feet flat on the floor, your hips should properly be slightly higher than your knees.
- Bend your head, roll your shoulders and back into a fully hunched position
- Slowly straighten up, shoulders back, trying to pull yourself up as if someone is pulling on a string attached to the top of your head.
- Arch your lower back – it will feel unnatural and uncomfortable, hold for a few seconds
- Slightly relax this position, this should be your sitting position with correct posture.
- Hold this position and move your back backwards so that you are resting on the backrest while maintaining this position
Tips and tricks to avoid the negative effects of prolonged sitting
- Support your lower back
Some ergonomic chairs are made with lumbar spine support, but with others you have to improvise. A rolled-up towel or a smaller cushion, for example filled with moisture-wicking buckwheat, is all you need.
Too much support for the lower back can quickly become uncomfortable and painful, so choose the size carefully.
- Adjust the height of the chair
The seat of the chair should be so high that the thighs are horizontal with the floor, the feet on the ground and the elbows of the hands as close to the body as possible at the first angle. Overextending the upper limbs puts strain on the shoulder muscles.
- Keep your feet on the ground
The key is to keep your feet on the ground, the weight should be evenly distributed between the hips. If you have to compromise the angle at the elbows and correct hand posture, a small stool can be purchased to support the feet. The knees should be at or below the level of the hips, a small cushion under the buttocks can help with this.
- Proper set-up
Keep your computer monitor at eye level, at least at arm’s length. The top edge of the screen should be no higher than about 4 cm above your eye level. You can elevate the monitor by using thick books or a monitor stand.
The keyboard should be on the same pad as the mouse and 10 to 15 cm from the edge of the desk. Your forearms should rest on the desk and the keyboard low enough to avoid bending your wrists.
The mouse should fit well in the hand, also not forcing the user to bend the wrist. The hand should be slightly below elbow level.
- Take breaks
Ideally, once an hour, get up from the computer and take a walk, stretch lightly. Not only do you need to change the position for the body, but also for the eyes. Human eyes are not adapted to look at a thing 50 cm away for a long time.
The ideal is to look into the distance once every 20 minutes for at least 20 seconds, ideally at something green. The green colour is soothing to the eyes and looking at a distant object gives them a break from focusing for long periods of time. Use this break to blink as well, as we forget when we stare intently.
How to avoid lower back pain?
As far as lower back pain is concerned, it is one of the most common complaints of many people. The lower back is prone to injury and the muscles around the lumbar spine need to be stretched while strengthening the abdominal muscles, along with the deep stabilizing muscles. Exercises taken from yoga are great for this.
This relaxing position stretches the spine, gluteal muscles and the back of the thighs. It helps to release tension in the lower back and neck.
- Kneel down and sit on your heels with your knees together
- Bend over. The movement should come from the hips, try to put your whole torso on your thighs, or use your hands to help a little
- Place your forehead on the ground, arms outstretched, palms down.
- Breathe deeply into the back.
- Stay in the position as long as you are comfortable.
This exercise massages your spine, helping to release tension throughout your torso, shoulders, neck and promotes blood flow to your muscles.
- Get into a cat pose on all fours, your hands should be directly under your shoulders, weight evenly distributed between all four limbs.
- With a breath, arch your back and look up at the ceiling.
- With an exhale, slowly hunch from the pelvis, with the chin trying to touch the chest.
- Repeat eight times.
Downward facing dog position
This yoga pose can be used to correct imbalances throughout the body. It helps to relieve back pain while helping to strengthen the back muscles. Regular practice helps correct incorrect posture.
- Lie on your stomach and place your palms on the floor at chest level, elbows to your body.
- Push yourself off the ground with your hands as if you were being lifted by your hips straight up, keeping your legs extended, toes pointing forward. The highest point should be your sit bone, it’s okay if your lower back is slightly rounded.
- Place your heels on the floor, you can bend your knees slightly
- Your wrists, shoulders and sit bone are in line, your head is in a neutral position between your arms, and your ears are in line with your arms. The head does not hang loosely or tilt.
- Push firmly away from the hands, the heels may be slightly off the ground.
- Stay in the position as long as you are comfortable.
This exercise helps to open the hips, relax the spine, hamstrings and gluteal muscles. It helps to stretch the sciatic nerve, the longest nerve in our body. It helps to correct imbalances leading to incorrect posture.
- Begin in a prone position on all fours, with your palms on the ground slightly forward of the shoulder line, knees on the ground in line with the hips.
- Bring the knee of the right foot towards the palm of the right hand and turn the foot towards the left palm, with the outside of the shin on the ground. It is as if you were sitting in a Turkish sit-up, but with only one leg.
- Extend the left leg backwards, with the shin, knee and part of the thigh resting on the mat. Make sure the leg is in a straight line behind you and not turned out to the side.
- Slowly bring your entire torso forward onto your inner thigh, arms extended out in front of you.
- Hold until you are comfortable.
- Slowly rock back and return to the starting position.
- Repeat on the other leg.
Remember, the main goal is to eliminate back pain, achieve correct posture and straighten a round back. Therefore, do not perform the exercises despite the pain. It is better to break the exercise and do it more times than to hold it once for too long. Go for quality, not quantity. For exercises in the forward bend, we do not recommend long holds for individuals with high blood pressure.