How Poor Posture can Stress the Psoas Muscle and Lead to Back Pain

A Poor Posture Can Be Treated!

 Poor PosturePoor posture is affected by prolonged periods of repeated motions or remaining fixed in one particular position. Mechanically, poor posture is the result of a strained balancing act involving your muscles, spine, and nervous system. Due to our ever increasing sedentary lifestyles, poor posture is a widespread problem.

Poor posture is an unnecessary and problematic pattern of physical responses to postural challenges. One of the most prominent negative effects that we tend to see from poor posture is a change in the spinal curve. A more serious outcome of a lifetime of poor posture is vertebral compression fractures.Poor posture is when our spine is positioned in unnatural positions in which the spinal curves are emphasized resulting in increased stress on the joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

Does Bad Posture Cause Back Pain?

ou have probably heard the claim that bad posture causes back pain, or that you should work on your posture to get rid of low back pain. You can find this claim all over the internet – from physical therapists, chiropractors and personal trainers. If you do a Google search for “posture and pain,” you get 4 million hits.

With so many posture police on patrol, you will almost certainly be told sooner or later by some authority that your posture needs work.

For example, if you have a relatively large curve in your upper back (kyphosis), you might be told that you have “upper cross syndrome.” This pattern involves rounded shoulders, a sunken chest, and a forward head. Common “corrections” are to stretch the chest muscles and strengthen the muscles between the shoulder blades.

Or, if you have a relatively large arch in your low back (lordosis), you may be told you have lower cross syndrome. In this pattern, the pelvis tips down in front (anterior pelvic tilt), and the stomach protrudes forward. To fix this, most people will tell you to strengthen your abs and glutes, stretch your hip flexors, and spend time during the day sucking in your gut and/or keeping your core active. Read more here.

One symptom you might commonly associate with poor posture are tight, achy muscles in the neck, back, arms and legs.

A Weak Psoas Muscle Could Be the Cause of that Back Pain

What Is the Psoas Muscle? Why Is It Important?

There are two psoas muscles on each side of the back. The larger one is called the psoas major and the smaller the psoas minor. The psoas major, often known as “the might psoas,” originates at the spine around the bottom of the rib cage and runs down the thigh along the femur. The psoas major works by flexing the hip. The psoas minor also originates at the spine around the bottom of the rib cage, but it runs down to the bony pelvis. It acts to flex the lower spine.

The psoas helps us perform all sorts of daily activities, including freeing the legs for walking and running. The psoas muscle is also vital in providing good posture. Anyone who takes Pilates knows the psoas intimately — the form of exercise is praised for improving psoas muscle health and related back pain. Olympic weightlifters, runners, triathletes, gymnasts — all heavily rely on the support of the psoas, too.

Let’s delve into where the muscle is located. There are two muscles that create what is called the iliopsoas group. They are the psoas major and iliacus. You have probably heard your fitness instructor suggest stretching the hip flexors at the end of your strength class. The psoas major and iliacus are important to the hip flexor muscles because they help stabilize and support the lower back. There is another muscle called the psoas minor, but it is more useful for 4 legged animals than for humans. See more here.

Improving poor posture is a conscious effort along with soft tissue work, stretching and strengthening exercises to correct the muscle imbalances.

Back Pain and Posture

How can I improve my posture?

Posture can be improved by following a rehabilitation program which should include:

  1. Core strength exercises
  2. Stretching tight muscle groups
  3. Strengthening weak muscle groups
  4. Altering your working position (If you work mostly at a desk)
  5. Correcting any biomechanical abnormalities

Here are some simple exercises you can do at your desk to help improve your posture:

  1. Sit comfortably in your chair, with both feet on the ground. Relax your shoulders and look straight ahead. Pull your chin in towards your head and hold for 10 seconds initially, increasing to 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times
  2. Again, sitting in your chair, rest your hands on your thighs. Slowly squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold for 10 seconds, increasing to 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times
  3. Whilst sitting at your desk practice activating your core musclesRead full article here.

A Poor Posture Can Cause A Lot Of Pain

People with poor posture are likely to experience aches and pains throughout the body. Some of the classic signs of poor posture are a potbelly, rounded shoulders, and a jutted-out neck and chin (known as a forward head position). Those who have poor posture are often recognized by their slumped shoulders or curved spine and normally caused by overuse that builds up over a prolonged period of time.

The most common effect of poor posture is sore muscles. The long-term effects of poor posture are numerous and can affect digestion, elimination, breathing, muscles, joints, and ligaments. Two things that contribute to poor posture are backpacks and computer usage. Patients that display symptoms from poor posture are taught how to correct this behavior to alleviate pain, you may call us here: (619) 831-8777.

Related Articles:
Strengthen Your Core to Relieve Lumbar Lordosis 
How to Cope When You Have Stooped Posture

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Author: Allison Yardley

Allison has 6 years in practice as a Chiropractor's Assistant and is a licensed Massage Therapist who writes for numerous blogs online. Feel free to comment or ask questions regarding any of Alley's blog posts.