Can Poor Posture Cause Spinal Arthritis?

Have You Been Diagnosed with Foraminal Stenosis?

While poor posture does not directly cause arthritis of the spine, it can contribute to its effects. For instance, body position can play a role in developing pain and other symptoms caused by spinal degeneration and related nerve compression.

More specifically, arthritis of the spine causes the protective cartilage that lines the facet joints to deteriorate slowly over time. This can lead to painful bone-on-bone contact, which can cause inflammation and stimulate the development of protective bony deposits (bone spurs). Additionally, if a bone spur develops near the spinal cord or a spinal nerve root, it can cause nerve compression. An irritated or compressed spinal nerve can produce localized and radiating pain, muscle weakness, numbness, and tingling sensations. Poor posture can affect the spine’s alignment and add to the pressure on a compressed nerve.

In addition to improving your comfort, there are many other good reasons to stand tall and sit up straight. This holds whether or not you’ve been diagnosed with arthritis of the spine. Check out BEST Health System’s tips on managing your arthritis pain throughout the day. 

How to Improve Your Posture

Poor posture can worsen spinal arthritis symptoms. Therefore, it is important to maintain good posture while:

  • Sitting. Keep your feet flat on the floor or a footrest. Uncross your legs, position your knees at or below hip level and maintain a small gap between the backs of your knees and your chair. Use a small pillow or adjust your seatback to support your back. Relax your shoulders and keep your forearms parallel to the ground. If you need to sit for an extended period, take frequent breaks to stand up, stretch, and walk around.
  • Standing. Support your body’s weight on the balls of your feet. Keep your knees slightly bent and position your feet shoulder-width apart. Then, allow your arms to hang naturally at your sides, tuck your stomach in, pull your shoulders back, and keep your head level. If you need to stand for an extended period, continually shift your weight from your toes to your heels or from one foot to the other.
  • Lying down. Sleeping with arthritis can be difficult. Sleep on a mattress that provides a firmness that feels comfortable to you. Avoid sleeping on your stomach. If you sleep on your side, place a pillow between your legs. If you sleep on your back, place a pillow under your knees. Consider using a special pillow to address postural problems resulting from awkward sleeping positions.

You should look into treatment options if your arthritis pain is excruciating. There are a variety of arthritis treatments available that can help you manage your pain. Initially, your doctor will likely recommend a course of conservative treatments, such as physical therapy or anti-inflammatory pain medications. However, if these are ineffective and the pain persists, you may want to consider surgery. 

Arthritis Surgery with Dr. Keith Girton

BEST Health System is a spine and orthopaedic ambulatory facility in Cincinnati, OH. Has your spinal arthritis been painful and debilitating? BEST is dedicated to finding the most effective, least invasive treatment option for patients with spinal arthritis. 

At BEST Health System’s Cincinnati facility, Dr. Keith Girton is our spine specialist who is an expert in minimally invasive surgeries. We believe that open back surgery should not be the only option for patients seeking relief from their neck or back pain. Are you interested in learning more about surgery with Dr. Keith Girton? Contact BEST Health System today.