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The link between back pain and studying

If you have a big exam coming up or an assignment to turn in, the last thing you want is any sort of distraction. As annoying as incoming texts or little sisters may be, one distraction you cannot escape from at any moment is physical pain. If you are feeling sore, it is hard to get comfortable, concentrate, and do the work you need. But could the work you’re doing be the cause of your pain? If you are experiencing back pain, then the answer could be yes. Below, we break down the link between back pain and studying, and offer tips on how to avoid this problem.


Although you may be tired of hearing it, sitting up straight is actually important. Bad posture is one of the leading causes of back pain, so sitting properly during extended periods of study is essential. When sitting up straight, our spine is properly aligned and all the bones, muscles, and tendons can support the body in the way they’re supposed to. When slouching, we change the places we are placing the pressure of our weight on, and cause undue tension, particularly in the muscles and tendons of the lower back. Slouching can also wear down the cartilage between the discs and joints, which makes moving around more difficult and painful.

The easiest way to make sure you have good posture when sitting at a desk is to make sure everything is lined up. Your ears should be above your shoulders, which should be directly above your hips. Your knees should be spread apart slightly so that they line up horizontally with your hips, and vertically with your feet, which should be planted firmly on the ground. To learn more about good posture, visit this blog.


How you position your head during study is also very important, When your eyes are looking straight ahead, and your head is at a 0° angle, your head puts about 10-12 lbs of pressure on your spine. But tilting your head forward even slightly can increase this pressure dramatically. A tilt of just 15° increases the pressure on your spine to 27lbs. A 45° tilt equates to about 49lbs of pressure, while a 60° tilt (the maximum) places around 60lbs of pressure on your spine.

This added pressure can not only lead to upper back pain, but can also cause headaches. When using a computer, it is advised that you have the screen level with your eyes, so you don’t have to tilt at all. When reading a book, you should avoid leaving it flat on the desk, and try to hold it up and change positions regularly.

Pain makes it much more difficult to concentrate and absorb information, so it is the last thing you want when studying. Back pain & neck pain are often related, so to learn more about how you can prevent neck pain when studying, visit our blog on that very topic.


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