One of the ideas about back pain is that the discs, ligaments, and vertebrae of the spine become strained when we aren't in the neutral position. The neutral position is the ideal alignment of the body when we are going work as well as when we are in a stationary position. This is the position that puts the least amount of stress on the joints involved with movements and with holding the position we are in , at any given movement. Doctors are right to do things like performing blood tests, X-Rays, MRIs and other fancy studies to rule out a serious cause of back pain at the beginning of the patient's treatment. But more often than not, it is the way we carry ourselves and the way we move our bodies that determine the way our body feels.
Improper postures such as slouching or leaning forward while we work put stress on the discs that separate our vertebrae and stretch the spinal ligaments. It is true that the soft tissues of our backs do wear down over time, no matter how well we take care of our bodies. Yet it is also true that that there are things that we can to slow these degenerative processes, to extend the livelihood of our spinal joints well into old age. Let's take a closer look at what the neutral position is, and how we may alter our body mechanics and ergonomics to restore it when it is lost.
If you have a bad back, then you should have the necessary medical tests the doctor thinks are appropriate to rule out any serious medical back pain conditions. Beyond that, you should meet with a spine-specialized therapist to see if your posture and body mechanics are off as you move. The way you sit at your desk, lift and haul objects, and even sit in your chair affects the structures of your spine and pelvis.
The neutral position is described as the ideal placement of our anatomy that puts the least amount of strain or tension on our bones muscles, tendons, and nerves. Decreasing unnecessary stress on the soft tissues of the spine, such as the facet joints and disc, is important because these structures don't heal very fast after becoming injured, if ever.
Because we in fact have lived in our bodies for our whole lives, we think that we know a lot about them and what it takes to keep them strong and up and running. But often we develop bad postural habits for a number of reasons. Often, we become creatures of habit when using certain tools, computer hardware, and yard appliances that we maintain the same movement habits even when their wrong. Sometimes we begin to use our body differently as we gain weight, or to compensate for an injury in another part of the body. Regardless of the reason, we often find ourselves moving in certain ways that are harmful to some of the more vulnerable parts of our bodies, such as the synovial joints.
A spine-specialized therapist is designed to identify a person's poor ergonomic habits and to teach them how to correct them. Many of these therapists are available for consultation at clinics, others to teach you good workplace ergonomics at you job, and others at home. The spine therapist will teach you to find and maintain an ideal posture in sitting and standing that takes the load off your back.
Often, we experience pain because of the way we carry ourselves around and hold our bodies up. Our backs and necks should not be bent forward as we stand, walk, and work at our desks. Slouching and leaning forward while we are working pulls our body out of the neutral position. In order to get this neutral posture back, we must select products and tools that posture good body mechanics.
Here's a quick checklist that you can use to judge whether or not your own body is in the neutral position. Stand with your back to the wall, with your heels against the wall. Press your calves, buttocks, shoulders, and head against the wall. Slide your hand behind the small of your back and bend your back into the wall to remove the excess gap. Next, take a step away from the wall and observe if your posture changes. Your posture should not change. If your posture does change, you should repeat this movement away from the wall over and over again until it doesn't. When your position doesn't change, then you will be close to the normal position.