Seven Ways to Mess Up Your Back

There’s a reason that lower back pain is one of the most common chronic conditions affecting Americans. More than 80% of us have it at least once in our life. More women suffer from chronic back pain than men. Older-age adults are more susceptible to back pain than younger adults or children.

The bones and muscles in your back work hard to keep you upright and serve as pivot points for everything from running to grabbing the pen you’ve dropped on the floor. Turns out there are some very common ways to mess your back up. Knowing these helps be proactive to avoid the pain before it’s too late, or, at least, recognize a possible cause of back pain if (and when) you get it.

1. Don’t take your eyes and fingers off your smartphone–ever. Today’s always-connected lifestyle is creating new problems with more aches and pains in shoulders, necks and backs. Look around. See anyone else hunching over thumb-scrolling for many minutes at a time? The research is growing about the impact all the poor posture created by mobile device use is having on all of us.

The solution: Limit the time you spend on any hand-held electronic device to no more than 15 minutes without a break. Sit up straight and don’t hunch over when you’re texting. Keep your elbows at a 90 degree angle.Watch the screen time on your laptop or desktop computer, too. Take breaks at least every 45 minutes for at least 2 minutes per break. Continue reading “Seven Ways to Mess Up Your Back”

So Goes the Psoas

psoas muscleThe Psoas (“so-az”) muscle helps flex the hip and stabilize the spine and is involved in everyday activities like walking and running. One of the iliopsoas group of muscles (along with the iliacus muscles), it is also is one of the most targeted muscles in discussions of lower back pain.

Your psoas major (so-az) muscles (you have one on each side of your spine) connect the lower portion of your back to the top of your thighs. Its major function is to stabilize the back and it’s the strongest and biggest player in a group of muscles called hip flexors that help flex your hips. Lay down and bring your knees to your chest and you’ll experience the psoas in action.

The psoas originates from the lumbar vertebrae and forms a strip of muscle about as big as your wrist along each side of the spine. It proceeds down and forward, crossing the outer edge of each pubis, then moves back again to attach on a bony prominence of the inner upper posterior femur (thigh bone) called the lesser trochanter. Continue reading “So Goes the Psoas”

It’s About How You SIT

howtositHow you sit when you’re working is something 100% in your control.  Poor sitting posture can result in lower back injuries and contribute to the poor positioning of other parts of the body, such as the arms, wrists, and legs.  You can make some small changes that can have a big impact on your posture and in turn reduce chronic pain in your arms, fingers, lower back and legs.

There are three main factors that influence your sitting posture: vision, reach, and postural support.

Continue reading “It’s About How You SIT”