The Downlow on the Upright Posture- Lumbar Spine
For the final blog of this series, I will be discussing posture and how it pertains to the health of the lumbar spine (low back). Excessive sitting has become a problem in our current culture. Part of it is that many jobs today require a lot of sitting. Even more significant is the fact that many Americans have shifted to participating in more sedentary hobbies and activities, such as video games, “nexflix and chilling”, or watching endless tiktok vidoes. These activities in moderation or fine, but if you go from sitting during work/school to sitting at home, every system in your body, especially your musculoskeletal one, is paying the price for your inactivity and setting you up for early degeneration.
Everyone always thinks there must be a huge event that led to their low back pain, but typically it is either repetitive bending or sustained sitting. It is what you do the months or years prior to the painful event that typically cause the eventual painful event. If it is local low back pain, the solution is typically not a complicated one. Induce motion where motion is needed and stabilize where stability is needed. Motion can look like extensions backward or walking. Stability can be as simple as working on proper abdominal breathing and then working up to a sustained plank hold (check out our videos!). If the pain travels into the legs or causes weakness and/or numbness, then the solution may be more complicated, but totally achievable if communicated and executed properly.
The current generation of young people is the first to be predicted to NOT outlive their parents! This is frightening and largely due to the inactivity of this generation. So, interestingly enough, my best advice for proper posture of the lumbar spine is to move and move often. Yes, if you have to sit, please sit tall with no rounding of the back, but more importantly…GET UP. Try starting with getting up every 45-60 minutes to stand or walk for 5-10 minutes. If you drive for work, you should stop frequently and walk around. If you are a trucker, when you do get a chance to stop, spend a little extra time walking around. More importantly people, please move when you get off work. I know days get exhausting and excuses are unlimited, but it will not only help your spine, but your lymphatic system, immune system, cardiovascular system, and mental health. MOVE, and MOVE OFTEN!
As always, do your stretches and have a wonderful week!
Cindy VanSickler, DC, CCSP, Cert. MDT