I am frequently asked about whether posture effects a herniated/bulging disc, stenosis or degenerative disc disease. I’m sure you’ve seen ads for “revolutionary” and “miracle” pillows, braces and ergonomic devices that will purportedly get rid of your sciatica or resolve your back pain instantly by restoring posture and aligning the spine. Having “good” or “proper” posture can optimize the movement of the spine and in many cases prevent some of the chronic issues that people deal with on a daily bases. This is particularly important for anyone that sits for prolonged periods during the day, which is most people. That being said, I am asked almost daily by patients in pain why braces and pillows and ergonomic devices haven’t worked to resolve their pain?
The short answer of it is that when there is already damage of the spine or serious conditions causing pain, like a herniated/ bulging disc or stenosis, having good posture really won’t help. The damage is already there to the tissues of the spine. It’s like having tooth pain and deciding that you should start brushing your teeth but then wondering why the toothpaste isn’t helping your pain. The cavity is already there. Of course once the cavity is resolved of course you should brush your teeth regularly to prevent future problems. Like that once we have corrected the underlying damage in the spine and allowed it to heal properly, posture will play a significant role in long term health. Unfortunately until that happens and the underlying damage/ condition is corrected those back pillows and ergonomic devices aren’t going to give you the “miracle” affect that you’re hoping for.