Over 80 percent of Australians will experience back pain at some point in their lives. Often, this pain is because of fatigued and overworked back muscles. Why do these muscles in our back get so tired and sore?
We have forgotten the proper ways to sit, stand, move, bend, drive, cook, and brush our teeth. Instead of using our legs and spine properly, our sitting lifestyle has brought us to new levels of bending, slouching, and living in chronic hip flexion.
This new lifestyle leads to the incorrect use of many muscles, one of the most important being the gluteal muscles, or “glutes”. The combination of these 3 large muscles (gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus) is extremely powerful. These muscles are integral to actions such as climbing stairs, getting out of a car, and standing us upright after bending over. Without the correct use of these muscles, we “overuse” the muscles in our middle and lower back to compensate.
Awakening the gluteals in a productive way can take a lot of pressure off those poor back muscles. Let the back relax while the glutes do their proper job. A combination of targeted stretches and exercises can help bring these important gluteal muscles back to life.
Here are 3 exercises you can do in the privacy of your own home, with no equipment, that can help get your glutes (and hamstrings) fired up again:
1. Pelvic curl and bridge-
Single leg deadlift (more advanced)-
And that's it! Some simple exercises you can do at home to help take the pressure off your lower back. Of course, if you are having ongoing concerns with back pain, it is always best to get checked by a health professional. Good luck!
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2016 there were 3.79 million students enrolled in schools across the country. Many of these students carry their backpacks or school bags overloaded or poorly fitted, resulting in a variety of injuries including neck pain, muscle spasms, tingling hands, headaches and lower back pain.
As parents, there are a number of important issues you need to know in order to prevent backpack related injuries and promote spinal health in your kids. When choosing a new backpack, it’s recommended you select ergonomically designed features that enhance safety and comfort. Importantly, a number of Australian and International health bodies recommend that the weight of a child’s backpack should not exceed 10 to 12 percent of their own body weight.
Choosing the Backpack: Here are six tips on choosing the best pack for your child-
Once you have taken the proper steps in choosing, packing and wearing the school backpack, please continue to monitor your child. It is extremely important to encourage your child or teenager to tell you about any pain or discomfort that may be caused by a heavy backpack. If necessary, talk to your child and their teachers to ensure that what your child is being carried back and forth to school is really required each day.
We know that posture and spinal health is impacted by a combination of factors including good muscle control, strength and flexibility. So, get your child moving with swimming, dance, martial arts, gymnastics, football, netball, soccer or any other organized activity. Becoming involved with sporting activities helps develop muscle tone as well as self-confidence, which can also influence posture.
I hope this helps you in your important role of caring for your child or teenager’s spine during their school years. If you have any further questions or would like any further advice you can contact us at email@example.com
If I asked a group of people if they suffered from any pain or discomfort, the majority would say ‘yes’. Pain is so common these days and I constantly encounter complaints related to the lower back. Without some solid prevention strategies, the number of people suffering from this problem will continue to grow.
According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, a study examining mortality or poor health as a result of diseases placed low back pain as the sixth most troublesome condition in 1990. As of 2010, low back pain jumped to third place. Most other western nations are no different.
You read that correctly, as of 2010, low back pain ranked 3rd!
I’m going to jump right to it and mention 3 habits you need to change if you want to reduce lower back pain. While this isn’t the only list, nor does it completely cover everything involved it’s a great start to get you on a mission toward a more comfortable, pain free future.
1. You sit too often
Most of us know that sitting isn’t our friend. The problem is we still do it for long periods because life often demands it. You may sit during your meal times, on the ride to work, and while at your job. Like many, you may be sitting for 8-10 hours or more per day. If you’re concerned about your lower back, you need to start standing and moving around more often. If you are sitting in poor alignment for this amount of hours, your risk of incurring a serious problem increases.
2. You exercise with poor form or not at all
Whenever you exercise, pay attention to the way you’re performing your techniques and the position of your body. There’s a good chance the way you’re exercising and the kinds of activities you might be doing in the gym are contributing to an insidious problem. If you don’t exercise, this is your invitation to get cracking because exercise in proper alignment is beneficial for maintaining the integrity of your spine, as well as the rest of your body. It can also improve coordination, and develop proper posture and muscle balance.
3. You don’t pay attention to your body alignment during your daily routine
Sleeping, eating, washing the dishes, walking, and a host of other regular activities are often done in poor alignment. You should start thinking more about what you do on a consistent basis. What position do you sleep in? When you eat do you hunch forward? What is your body doing while you’re working? Pay special attention to anything you do daily, and mind your body alignment.
While this short list is not a call for you to scrutinize every little activity, I implore you to pay closer attention to what you’re doing and start making changes today. Lower back pain is unpleasant and far too common. Small but regular changes can make a big difference!
Do I use mobile devices? Of course I do. As a posture professional however, I try to be deliberate about my posture while I use them, because I know full well the consequences if I don’t. I’m trained to look out for this while I text, check emails or Facebook, or even play games, but your children aren’t. Anyone using a mobile device for long hours is more than likely allowing their body alignment to suffer in a big way.
How many hours do our children and teenagers spend on these devices? I remember a time where kids would go to an arcade and stand up to play games. Then we shifted to home systems where we would sit or lay for a few hours and then eventually go outside to play. As time moved on, games have become much more involved and addictive. Now, games have also become much more mobile and this is not necessarily a good thing. On top of all this, nearly everything else can be accessed on a mobile device as well, from social media, to messaging and so much more. There is now more reason than ever to spend time staring at a small, hand held screen.
From the eyes of a posture specialist, I notice how young people look while they’re playing. Head hung over, neck flexed, shoulders slouched, focused solely on the game or screen and not much else. The obvious consequence that children are setting themselves up for posture related musculoskeletal problems and they don’t even know it, really bothers me!
In only a few years, many of the children of this generation are going to have serious postural abnormalities. The long hours spent on mobile devices while in poor alignment will be a major factor that caused this. Can you imagine a child incurring forward head posture, “text neck”, or thoracic kyphosis before their 20s? It’s becoming a reality. These are issues that adults battle in their later years- no child should have to worry about visiting a doctor or therapist because of persistent neck pain or headaches. I am seeing far too much of this already in our physiotherapy clinics, and have even experienced it at home with my own kids. Mine are just fortunate they have parents that can educate them on what’s going on and make them more aware of their posture and the role it plays in their aches and pains.
So, what can you do?
Understand that what we’re talking about here is serious, and it extends into all excessive use of mobile devices while in poor alignment. We can start impacting change by actively discussing it with family, friends and colleagues. Particularly, if you or someone you know has or works with children, really open this discussion.
Here are some points you can bring up with them and discuss now:
Whether it’s at home, in the car, or at school, our children need us to help them with this. It’s the responsibility of all of us to look out for their posture before it turns into a serious problem. By becoming more aware and openly discussing these points within your family and social circles, we bring more attention to it and even better, brainstorm some simple ideas to help make a positive change. Believe me, a little can go a long way here, and we really can significantly influence the path of our children’s health.
This is an issue I am very passionate about (in case you hadn’t noticed!) and I intend to make a difference to as much of our community as I can.
Please browse the rest of our site here at Perth Posture Centre to learn a little more about these issues. If you have any questions at all, or if you would like me to come and do a talk, you can contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the clinic on 08 9446 7017.
I hope this helps you learn more and begin making some positive changes, for you, and for those you care about.
If you consistently read or look at a screen in this posture, or if you find yourself hanging your head when you walk, you could develop a common musculoskeletal condition called forward head posture (FHP).
Have you ever seen someone with their head and neck leaning forward? You may see it in older adults more, but with the routine activities we perform (e.g. mobile phone usage), it’s becoming more common.
If you perform activities regularly in poor alignment it alters your nerve and muscle pathways, which will cause the head and neck to adapt more readily to FHP. Some muscles will become stronger and tighter while others will become weaker and more stretched. The nerves could then be affected as well; even getting “pinched” or compressed. This does not occur overnight, it happens gradually. The more you perform an activity in poor alignment the less likely you are to notice you’re doing it and before long you’ll have FHP and the symptoms to go along with it. Some of you reading this may already have symptoms but never realized it until now.
Here are three questions to ask yourself regularly to help you avoid forward head posture:
What kind of posture do I have while I’m at work?
Whatever you do for a living, do it in good posture. You spend many hours of your life at work so this is one of the places you’ll need to be the most vigilant. Adjust your seat and laptop/computer so the top of the screen is at eye level- you shouldn’t feel like you have to strain or hunch forward to read something on the screen. It’s important you get a handle on this and help clients make the necessary adjustments. Check the below diagram for an idea on this…
Am I hanging my head/lurching my neck forward when reading, playing video games, or on my phone?
When it comes to activities involving books, mobile devices, or computer screens, you may have a bad habit of staring and not realizing the position your neck is in. Let’s do a small activity, where are you right now and what is your body doing? Pay attention to your head and neck. Are you guilty of the problem? Going forward, I want you to work on your awareness. When holding your mobile device, hold it higher and away from your face so it’s comfortable. Use your eyes instead of leaning your neck forward or tilting your chin downward when on your phone. Check your body alignment when playing video games, especially if you slouch. If you’re reading books, pay attention to how you’re sitting or lying, and where your head and neck are positioned. Remember, you do these activities often, so make sure you habitually do them in good alignment.
When I exercise or perform activities, do I have poor mechanics and don’t realize it?
Have you ever seen someone performing an exercise and they’re pushing their head and neck forward, maybe with the increased effort? I’ve seen too many people jut their chin and head forward while performing exercises. My point here is when you exercise you must pay attention to what your body is doing. Let’s make some changes now by correcting our poor habits.
I hope you pass this message along because there are too many people who probably have symptoms and don’t realize what’s causing them. Symptoms could be as simple as neck pain or headaches, or more complex than that. While every ache or pain isn’t caused by poor posture, it’s still worth checking your head and neck to ensure they’re in proper alignment. Ask yourself these questions and keep correcting yourself where possible.