Upper Back Pain Caused by Poor Posture
By: Melissa A. Kay
As you are reading this, are you sitting in front of your computer slouched forward, shoulders headed towards becoming parallel to the desk? Or perhaps you are leaning on the kitchen counter, smartphone in hand, craning your neck to read the tiny type on your device which you are holding down by your chest. When you walk from your car to the office, are you upright and looking ahead, or staring at your phone or your feet? And when you get inside, do you nestle your desk phone between a tilted head and raised shoulder so your hands are free?
If any or all of these behaviors sound like part of a regular day in your life, you may be susceptible to suffering from upper back pain…if you are not already feeling strain or stiffness. Poor posture is one of the leading causes of upper back pain. And, unless you have a spinal or other physical condition that you can’t control, poor posture is something you have the power to correct. It may take a while to break the bad ‘bent-over’ habit, but once you get used to sitting, standing, and walking upright with your chin high, shoulders back, and neck straight, you will do yourself the service of preventing or potentially curing your upper back pain caused by poor posture by alleviating muscle tension.
Why does poor posture cause upper back pain? It is all about stress on the spine. This unnatural pressure can cause physical changes in the spine’s structure, constricting blood flow and pinching nerves. Muscles are out of whack and the discs and joints follow suit. You may grow accustomed to your less-than-advisable position and you may not even feel any of its unwelcome effects…at first. But over time, you are bound to become bothered, and you may not even think that it is your poor posture that caused the painful problem in the first place.
From now on, be more cognizant of your body. Learn to lift up rather than hunch over. Look around and watch others. When you see a “slumper,” it is a useful reminder for you to perfect your posture. Remember to hold your phone higher to meet your eyes rather than the other way around. Invest in a good desk chair that helps your body better align. Don’t lean on one leg while chit chatting with a friend. And so on.
Remind yourself daily until great posture becomes routine. Set a reminder on your smartphone every 15 or 30 minutes as a self “posture check-in.” It may seem silly at first, but the sound of the alarm will soon be your upper back’s best friend. Before long, you will no longer need the alarm to alert you to perk up because your posture will already be on point. No more slouching, no more suffering.
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