Back Pain Tips from a Burlington Ontario Physiotherapist…

If you’re experiencing lower back pain and wondering if your sitting posture is aggravating your condition, you may be right.  The following are some of suggestions…

Back Pain Burlington

Back Pain Burlington

Low Back Pain and Curvature

Several studies have found that a flat or flexed spine (pictured above) causes the lower back muscles to relax.  Although this may sound beneficial, it places a greater strain on passive structures like intervertebral discs, ligaments and joint capsules.  A flexed posture would likely aggravate a lumbar disc herniation (“sciatica” or “slipped disk”).  Lumbar lordosis (pictured below) loads the various structures of the lower back more evenly so that one area is not exposed to excessive forces.

Back Pain

Back Pain

Low Back Pain and Sitting

Many people are under the impression that once ideal sitting posture is attained, you will be safe from pain or injury. This isn’t really true. According to several studies published in very credible journals, mixing up your posture keeps the joints lubricated and helps to prevent sustained loading of a single structure. This strategy would be helpful for many types of lower back pain, including arthritis, facet joint irritation, disk bulge or disk herniation and spondylolisthesis.

Low Back Pain and Muscular Support

As mentioned previously, it is not ideal to have the muscles completely relaxed. A recent study published in the journal Clinical Biomechanics looked at female office workers and their sitting posture throughout the workday. Interestingly, they found that the muscles in the lower back were very inactive while seated. The authors of the study found that this was a response to their spines being in subtle flexion (slightly rounded forward, or “flat” in the lower back). As a result of this lowered muscular activity, the subjects of the study endured a sustained stretch of passive structures in the lower back, ultimately causing pain and dysfunction. A gentle contraction of various abdominal and lower back muscles is recommended to help support the spine and dissipate the load on passive structures.

Low Back Pain – Ice or Heat?

This is a relatively simple topic.  For most people, ice of short duration (ten minutes on and ten minutes off) is a safe bet in cases of acute injury.  For more chronic cases, the advice is a little different.  In our Burlington clinic, we usually recommend those patients with chronic lower back pain to try both ice and heat to see what works better for them.  Personally, I usually feel that ice is a safe bet in most circumstances.  Of course, this blog never intends to provide direct advice…always consult with a healthcare practitioner before “self-treating” any injury.

Low Back Pain Clinic in Burlington

Are you experiencing low back pain and looking for a clinic in Burlington, Ontario?  Our clinic offers various treatment options for patients experiencing lower back pain. Provided through our Chiropractors and Physiotherapists, we offer active release therapy, Graston technique, laser therapy and traditional modalities like interferential current (IFC) and ultrasound.  Feel free to contact us for an appointment or for more information – 905.220.7858

Corlett EN. Background to sitting at work: research based requirements for the design of work seats. Ergonomics 2006; 49: 1538-15546.
Mork PJ, Westgaard RH. Back posture and low back muscle activity in female computer workers: a field study. Clinical Biomechanics 2009; 24: 169-175.
Pynt J, Higgs J, Mackey M. Milestones in the evolution of lumbar spinal postural health in seating. Spine 2002; 27: 2180-2189.
Williams MM, Hawley JA et al. A comparison of the effects of two sitting postures on back and referred pain. Spine 1991; 16: 1185-1191.