Why Posture is Important for Overall Health

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Sprained or Stretched Lumbar Ligaments Cause Back Problems

Good posture is often discussed but not considered a health risk until back pain strikes. Posture is important and affects overall health in a number of ways including improved and more effective breathing, better blood flow throughout the body, more efficient digestion and even reduced rates of depression.

The shape and structure of the vertebral column or spine, discs, ligaments and muscles provide the stability and strength of the back. This complicated system is prone to injury and pain, and it is important to understand the structure of the back to maintain overall health.

The Lumbar Curvature Forms the Natural Posture of the Body

The natural posture of the body has an inward curve at the small of the back above the pelvis area. This curve is called the lumbar lordosis and is an important part of the vertebral column that helps to support and distribute the weight of the body.

Slouching or rounding the back for long periods when sitting or standing weakens and stretches the ligaments that support the spine causing back problems and pain.

The five lumbar vertebrae of the spine that form this curvature in humans are designed to carry the weight of the body when standing and transmit this weight to the pelvis bones when sitting. This is why lumbar lordosis naturally becomes more pronounced in pregnant women.

The lumbar bones are broader than the other vertebrae of the spinal column. Their structure, angle and size allows them to be more flexible and better able to absorb mechanical stress, shock, weight and gravity.

Stretched or Strained Ligaments Cause Lower Back Pain

This lumbar area is also the most common area for back problems, pain and injuries. Lower back pain is usually caused by overstretching the ligaments and other soft tissues for long periods of time. This can occur by sitting hunched over at a desk or in a chair, slouching when standing and other poor posture habits.

Muscle sprains can also cause back pain, but back problems caused by injured or overstretched muscles do not normally last longer than two to four weeks. Soft tissue and ligament sprains cause more serious chronic and long term back problems.

This type of back strain can be prevented by correcting posture and by regular exercises that help to strengthen and heal ligaments and soft tissue in the lower back.

Why Back Problems are Common in Western Societies

In Western and developed societies the most common cause of poor posture and back problems is sitting for long periods of time. If slouching when sitting becomes a habit, this cause a distortion of the discs in the vertebrae because weakened ligaments can no longer support them.

Conclusion

Bad posture can be caused by poorly designed furniture, but even the best ergonomic chair is not helpful if sitting posture is not actively corrected. Posture is important for overall health and should be maintained daily to prevent painful and often disabling back problems.