Does your back pain get worse but you don’t know why? You may want to talk to your doctor about the role your posture plays with a herniated disc problem. Dr. Anant Kumar at Colorado Spine and Scoliosis in Littleton can explain how bad posture can cause a worsening of lumbar herniated disc symptoms.
To learn more, an article in Spine-Health explains how a number of things contribute to these symptoms but people don’t often realize that one of them is your posture.
What is a herniated disc?
There are tough outer rings protecting the gel-like interior of the discs in your back. Sometimes, getting older or wear and tear causes the discs to lose some of the fluid that makes them pliable and spongy. So, the discs get flatter and harder. This disc degeneration process actually can begin when you are a young adult.
Stress or pressure on the spine can make your disc’s outer ring tear, crack or bulge. If this occurs, the lumbar spine or the lower back can have disc protrusion which pushes against the nearby spinal nerve root. Sometimes the inflammatory material from the interior irritates the nerve. What you experience is shooting pains in your buttock and down your leg.
Your lower back spinal discs are important because they act as shock absorbers between the vertebrae, they support the upper body, and they allow you to experience a wide range of movements.
Sometimes like we said earlier, symptoms of a herniated disc can come from age or use, but it can also happen when you lift something heavy or twist your lower back. This is a common medical problem and usually, affects people ages 35-50.
Adjusting your posture when you lift, sit, and walk may be able to give you some relief from pain. Let’s take a look at some tips that might help you improve your posture and relieve some of your pain from our herniated disc.
How does lifting posture contribute to a herniated disc?
Yes, just like your mom and dad always told you, posture is important. When you helped your next door neighbors move or you finally cleaned out your garage, were you told to lift with your legs, not your back? That was solid advice. Placing a strain on your lower back can cause disc problems. Here are some ideas from the article to help you prevent back injuries.
- Keep your chest out. When you lift, bend your hips. Try to always keep your chest out and your back straight.
- Go with your hips. To avoid putting stress your lower back, lead with your hips when you change directions while you are lifting an object.
- Keep the object near to your body. Keep whatever object you are lifting as close to your body as your can.
But probably the biggest piece of lifting posture advice is if something feels too heavy for you, find another way to lift it. Get people to help you lift it or use a hand truck.
What are the dangers of poor sitting posture?
Poor posture, while you are sitting, puts stress on your spinal discs. If you are someone who slouches forward when you sit at your desk for long periods of time, you can overstretch your spinal ligaments and strain your herniated disc.
But even if you have perfect sitting posture, you still need to keep moving from time to time throughout the day. It helps if you can get out of your chair every 30 minutes and walk around, do some stretches at your desk.
Here are some good suggestions:
- Get a chair with support. You need to find an ergonomic office chair that will give support to your lower back and promote good posture.
- Your back should be against your chair. Try to keep your back flat against your chair and your shoulders tall with your head level over your spine.
- Hips and knees would be level. Always sit with your knees level or slightly above your hips when you are sitting at a desk for long periods of time.
- Keep your feet flat on the floor. If your feet cannot reach the floor, you can always find a foot stool or even a box to rest your feet on.
How does poor walking posture affect a herniated disc?
Some of us don’t lift much and some of us don’t work at a desk, but almost all of us have to walk. Poor walking posture can bother your lumbar herniated disc. Keep in mind that overly-long strides can add pressure on your herniated disc and that will increase your symptoms, including pain. In fact, with the right posture, walking as a low-impact form of exercise is recommended to reduce low back pain. Here are some ideas to help you have better walking posture.
- Walking with your heel first. Your mid-foot and heel should land first, then roll on to your toes and push off. This will help shorten your strides.
- A slower pace. If you walk slower that will mean shorter steps.
- Keep straight. Try to keep your head and shoulders tall, and focus on a spot in front of you at all times.
- Suck your stomach in. As you walk, make sure your stomach is pulled in. If you take deep breaths and keep a slow pace the will help keep your stomach sucked in.
- Walking means walking. Don’t run or jog, just walk. Running and jogging increases the pressure and could worsen your herniated.
We all know how severe back pain puts a real damper on your lifestyle. But you don’t have to just accept it. Going to a spine doctor can be intimidating, that’s no secret. At Colorado Back and Spine we not only have A+ care, we also have effective and simple processes that allow our clients to have the best experience possible. We have a wide-range of in-service insurance coverage, we work with one of the most trusted Colorado medical billing companies around, and we have genuine and trusted reviews about the work we do.
Talk to Dr. Ananat Kumar about the role your posture plays with a herniated disc problem and how to reduce your pain. Our medical staff at Colorado Spine and Scoliosis in Littleton is here to help you make your life more livable. Let us help you get moving again by calling or contacting us to schedule your appointment.