Inner disc material that pushes outward somewhere in the lower back area may cause little or no pain or widespread numbness and weakness. For most people with a lumbar herniated disc, the level of discomfort experienced falls somewhere in between mild and severe. An unexpected source of disc-related pain that often comes and goes or fluctuates throughout the day may be your posture. The staff at The Spine Institute in Beverly Hills discuss a few ways posture can exacerbate a lumbar herniated disc.
Excess Strain from Lifting
Remembering to “lift with your legs and not your back” is only part of what’s involved with proper lifting techniques. Not paying attention to how you lift something, whether it’s a box or a baby, could throw your posture off. Avoid twisting or straining back-supporting muscles by:
- Leading with your hips when changing directions as you lift
- Bending at your hips and keeping your chest forward
- Keeping the object you’re lifting as close to your body as possible
Added Pressure from Sitting
It’s easy to forget about posture when you’re more focused on doing your work, using your computer or device, or watching TV as you sit throughout the day. Constant slouching stretches ligaments and muscles in or near your lower back and may increase nerve pressure from a herniated disc. Enhance your sitting posture by:
- Keeping your shoulders and head aligned
- Sitting fully upright and placing your back against the chair
- Adjusting your chair so your feet are comfortably flat on the floor
Poor Posture While Walking
Taking excessively long strides and multitasking with a mobile device are just some of the ways your posture can be affected as you walk throughout your day. Paying attention to how you walk can keep a damaged disc from pressing on nearby nerves as you get where you need to go. Maintain your posture as you walk by:
- Pacing yourself and taking shorter steps
- Keeping your head and shoulders upright and putting your devices away
- Taking deep breaths and pulling your stomach in
You’ll have to make a conscious effort to maintain better posture because it can take about two months for new habits to stick. Ergonomic chairs and back-support braces can also encourage proper spinal alignment. Making an effort to watch your posture may even reduce your dependence on certain medications, but check with your doctor or a board-certified spine physician first.
Learn more about posture and how it can impact your spine health by reaching out to The Spine Institute. Whether you need decompression surgery, a Coflex implant, or spinal cord stimulation, Beverly Hills surgeons you can trust are just a phone call away. Call our office at 310-828-7757 to schedule an in-person evaluation.