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Health tips by Dr Ratnakar

How Bad Posture can Cause Back & Neck Pain

Ever wake up with unexpected neck pain?  Find that your back or neck is practically screaming in pain by the time you’re done with a long day at work?  It’s not stress or your busy lifestyle that’s causing those aches and pains…

It could be your posture.  That’s right – your mother’s reminders to sit up straight were actually some of the best ways to preserve your back and neck health.  Poor Posture is one of the most common causes of neck pain.  Since the neck and skull sit on top of the spine, the curvature of the spine can cause the head’s position to become askew. This causes considerable strain on the neck muscles, which in turn can contribute to neck aches, pains, and even chronic headaches.

There are a number of muscles that make up the neck – and when these muscles are strained or become tight, they can cause neck and back pain, in addition to headaches.  These muscles include:

  • Scalene and suboccipital muscles (these help rotate the head)
  • Pectoralis minor muscles (these muscles can be found at the upper part of the chest)
  • Subscapularis muscles (larger muscles which are found around the shoulder joints)
  • Levator scapulae muscles (these muscles are located at the back and sides of the neck)

 

When alignment of the spine is off (for example, you’re slouching forward while sitting), this puts a considerable amount of pressure on your neck muscles. Continuous strain can lead to chronic neck and back pain – and the only solution to this kind of pain is to improve one’s posture.

The most common posture that causes neck and back pain is when a person is sitting with their head and shoulders pushed forward.  This posture is most common when someone is sitting in front of a computer, with your head jutted forward to read the screen.  Since this posture is most common in the workplace, it’s important for people to remain aware of how they’re sitting, and to make corrections whenever possible.

Dr Ratnakar Rao

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