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Back pain when using good posture

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Back pain when using good posture

Postby Randall Koch on Fri Feb 16, 2007 2:01 am

Hey Michael,

When working at my desk I have tried to sit up straight and use good posture instead of slouching to strengthen my low back but it just creates pain in this area after a minute or two and then just gets worse unless I stop by curving my low back. How am I supposed to keep my low back strong but avoid this pain? It seems sitting up straight just makes my low back worse.

Thanks in advance for your reply!

Randall
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Postby Michael Jen on Fri Feb 16, 2007 5:47 pm

Randall,

The reason why this is happening is because the postural muscles in your low back area are extremely weak and atrophied. You have 2 groups of muscles, postural and dynamic. Because of your weight training, you have really built up your dynamic muscles in that area, but your postural muscles have not worked. In addition in your weight training, all the movements were dynamic, so your muscles are not accustomed to holding a static position for a long period of time. So when you now place your body in a position in which requires a lot of static endurance, those muscles are dying. The pain you feel is not injury pain, but the burn of muscles reaching its limit when holding a static position.

My MBF instructor told me a story about a time when he was working on a group of football players. These guys were HUGE and most people would consider them to be extremely strong. He had the football players hold their arms out straight at shoulder level. He said that all of them were dying and could barely keep their arms up statically like that for more than 40 seconds to 1 min.!

Training your body to sit up with all the proper 90 degree angles should begin with your MBF program. Many of the exercises are done in the sitting position. I would suggest that you maintain proper sitting posture, not only when you are doing the exercises, but also during your rests between sets of exercises.

When I first began to train myself to sit and stand properly in front of my computer, my muscles were dying after only a few minutes. However, I eventually built up the endurance and can do it for a much longer period of time. Think of it this way...Let's say there is a person who is extremely overweight and out of shape. If that person was to go for a run, they're going to be dying and discomfort from exercises will practically feel like pain to that person. How does that person get over it? Just keep exercising. Yes, it will be uncomfortable for a while, but if the person keeps doing it, their body eventually will be come stronger. The more "out of shape" the person is, the longer it will take for that person to get into good shape. The same idea exists in regards to strengthening your postural muscles.

Also, between kneeling, standing, and sitting, sitting places the most stress on your low back muscles. Kneeling and standing allows more of the force to be distributed into your legs. With your posture, kneeling is not an advisable position at the moment. So the best thing for you would be to switch between standing and sitting. When you begin to feel the burn in your low back when sitting, even if it is after a few minutes, then switch to standing. When standing, you may eventually feel the need to get out of that position, switch to sitting.

Though I can hold the proper sitting, kneeling, and standing positions for a decent amount of time, holding static positions and not moving for lextremely ong periods of time is not what your body was designed to do. So that is why switching from position to position is much better.

This is why I HIGHLY recommend getting a sit/stand desk. I just got mine and put it together. I have been using it and it is great. This allows me to slowly build my muscle endurance to hold each position, but since I can constantly switch position, I'm not killing my muscles.

Usually electric sit/stand desks are between $1,000 - $3,000. I found ones on clearance sale for $512 and only $100 shipping. http://www.workriteergo.com/shop/script ... ?special=Y

Prior to getting this desk, I was unsure if I even wanted to spend that amount of money on a new desk, however, when I considered how much time I spent on the computer and how my body always felt terrible after being in front of the computer for longer periods of time, I decided that it would be wise investment.
Michael Jen

Licensed MBF Practitioner
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Postby Bill Hotter on Mon Feb 19, 2007 2:54 pm

I've been sitting on my exercise ball at work. I never realized how weak my postural muscles were. I definitely feel a burn. In fact, sitting/standing in proper posture and walking is my workout focus for a while.

Going to work and walking around doesn't seem too strenuous, but as an athlete; I must tell you, I am getting a workout.
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Postby Michael Jen on Tue Feb 20, 2007 5:00 pm

Yep, most people, especially athletes, don't realize how much work it is to sit/kneel/stand with proper posture at a desk for numerous hours, in addition to walking. Most athletes assume they are way beyond that.

After you try doing that for a while, you realize how much muscular strength and endurance it takes to hold those positions. Basically, it's a lot of work just to fight gravity!
Michael Jen

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