Motion Stability's Blog


How Does Posture Affect Back Pain? by charlestlee
Brian Yee PT, MPhty, OCS, FAAOMPT

The way you sit and stand significantly affects your back. Especially for prolonged duration, the tissues around the spine experience what clinicians call ‘creep phenomenon’.

Think of a cold piece of taffy. As you hold it, warm it up, and then hold it by its ends, it slowly stretches and lengthens. Very similarly, the tissues in the back can due the same thing. The fascia, muscles, nerve, joints all experience increased strain when the spine is statically held in one position for a long duration of time.

When you then place yourself in a poorly sitting or standing posture, that then accentuates the amount of tissue loading that is placed on the spine and its surrounding tissues. The ‘creep phenomenon’ is then accelerated and tissue breakdown and injury can occur quicker.

Correctly changing your postures can significantly place less stress on your spine.

Please consult with an appropriate practitioner to discuss proper ergonomics/postures.

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How Can a Weak Core Lead to Back Pain? by charlestlee
Brian Yee PT, MPhty, OCS, FAAOMPT
According to Panjabi’s model, we can view spinal stabiilty based on 3 key elements:

1. Passive Structures: The spinal column itself and the ligaments, fascia and other static tissues that hold it together.

2. Active Structures: The muscles that surround the trunk and pelvis ‘actively’ contract to provide muscle support.

3. Cognitive / Motor Control: The brain has a way to coordinate how muscles will be used to anticipate how the spine is used with functional activities.

The passive structures and the spine itself is limited in its ability to stabilize the spine, especially in dynamic function or prolonged positions such as standing or sitting. The brain thus needs to coordinate the proper timing of muscle contractions and muscle forces to hold the spine together. Without proper muscle control and force the vertebrae of the spine will have increased shearing, torque or compression eventually leading to such things as vertebral degeneration, herniated discs, or other structural issues that may lead to back pain.

The notion of the ‘stronger you are – the better you’ll be’ needs to be carefully considered as it is more important to develop stability in the core that is efficient and properly coordinates with proper movements in your upper and lower body. There are many disciplines out there that teach movement patterning and stabilization, this can include pilates, yoga, functional movement training, feldenkrais, janda approach, and more. Each discipline has their specific methods, while there are also similarities. Please consult a qualified physical therapist or other health practitioner to learn more about proper movement training to stabilize your core.