One of the best ways to protect spinal health is to practice good posture. Poor posture is the root cause of many of the most common back problems. One of the easiest ways to make sure the intricate structures of the spine are kept healthy is to practice good posture. For many years people have thought of good posture as a simply cosmetic action, but it is in fact critical in helping reduce back and neck pain. Individuals who have to stand or sit in one position for long periods of time will find good posture and adequate back support to be very beneficial. Posture is a matter of developing a habit and when poor posture is the habit back pain and even spinal damage can occur.
Poor posture translates into inadequate support for the back and once the muscles become under too much strain the spine can become stressed. When poor posture is not corrected, the anatomical characteristics of the spine can be altered. Muscles, discs and joints in the back can exhibit various problems due to the constriction of nerves and blood vessels. Any one of these circumstances can contribute to back pain and associated problems such as headaches and fatigue.
Each individual develops their postural habits early in life and in most cases these habits continue through adulthood. Sitting, standing and walking each have their specific postural positions that should be maintained. It is important to start with small children and help them refrain from slouching while developing good posture that will protect their spine for the rest of their lives. For those who are required to sit for hours on end throughout the day it is important to get up and stretch or move around periodically as this will help the muscles in the back relax. For individuals who must be on their feet for long periods of time, it is important that they take time to sit down periodically and give their back a rest. Walking can even alleviate some stress that is put on the back while standing.
Most of the time, when bad posture causes back pain, once the posture is corrected the pain will subside. This does not mean that making necessary changes alleviates the pain immediately. Sometimes it takes some time for it to subside. It is also difficult to break bad posture habits and once they have been changed they also have to be maintained. Martial arts and yoga are two low impact methods that can help an individual correct and maintain proper posture.
Most of the time a physician will suggest regular exercise to maintain fitness and good body condition. Something as simple as walking can be beneficial to the overall condition of the body and help strengthen the back muscles. Swimming and bicycling are very good exercises that help strengthen the back. Maintaining a regular exercise regimen can help promote good posture as well as keep the muscles in good shape. This will help prevent many injuries as well. Before beginning any type of regular exercise program discuss it with your physician. A doctor or spinal specialist will be able to suggest different types of exercises and activities which are safe for you to participate in. A spinal specialist may also be able to suggest pain medications that will be effective while working on correcting postural problems. Once good posture is achieved and maintained for some time, in most cases any related pain should also be alleviated.