Have you experienced persistent aching or stiffness along your spine? Maybe you always feel a sudden, sharp, pain in the neck, upper or lower back? If so, you are among millions of people suffering from back pain. So prevalent is back pain that it is now an epidemic. The searches for ‘chiropractic near me’ are on the rise as more people struggle with debilitating back problems.
Back pains are among the most common health complaints. A recent report says four out of five adults will suffer at least one episode of back pain at some point in their lives. A similar survey done over six months showed five in 10 people suffered low back pain.
The critical role the back plays makes such pain devastating. Your back plays a supportive role for the entire body both in motion and while at rest. This means you should never ignore that spasm if it persists as it can affect your daily routine including work and other activities.
Back pain is a complex condition caused by a complex combination of factors. Some of the causes, such as sports injuries, accidents, and disc problems, are well known. However, some everyday habits also contribute to back pain problems or exacerbate the pain.
For health and wellbeing, it’s crucial to learn about such habits. It is an important step in protecting your spinal cord and preventing back pain issues. Here’s a highlight of some surprising everyday activities that could be contributing to your back pain problem.
Sitting too Long
In the hectic modern lifestyle, many people spend hours at their desk. There’s pressure to beat deadlines and write reports on time. What’s more, many self-employed people, including freelancers and work-from-home moms, have to complete as much work as they can to support themselves financially.
When seated at your desk, the last thing you worry about is your posture. This is where your back problems start. Poor posture, combined with sitting for prolonged periods puts a lot of pressure on the disks in the lower back.
These disks depend on blood flow to get nutrition and release waste. When you sit for a long time, the disks which perform like pumps can’t move enough and there’s little room for breathing. Ultimately, this leads to building up tension and stress which you feel as aches or pain around your lower back area.
To avert this problem, you should avoid sitting hunched over your desk. You should also stretch regularly by moving your head and neck up and down and to the right. More importantly, take breaks from your work and walk around to relieve any pressure building up in your lower back.
While everyone knows smoking is bad for a healthy heart and lungs, many don’t realize it also affects their back. Smoking denies the crucial back area enough blood supply. It starves the discs in the spinal cord of nutrients and also deposits toxins from nicotine.
Restricting blood flow to the discs that cushion your vertebrae will also increase the rate of degeneration. Without this cushioning, you will start experiencing pain and discomfort in the back area.
Another risk of smoking for your back is that it inhibits calcium absorption thus preventing new bone growth and slowing healing after bone fractures. As a smoker, you are an increased risk for osteoporosis (brittle, fragile bones). If you have a back injury, smoking prevents fast healing leading to prolonged back pain.
All these factors combined leave you vulnerable to back pains and discomfort. It is thus advisable to stop smoking to alleviate further back damage and pain.
Poor Show Choice
Staying up to date with the latest fashion trends might force you to wear shoes that end up hurting your back. High heels are a classic, and while they are sleek and stylish, they don’t offer the support required for your back. Instead, they put more pressure on the spinal cord leading to back pains. These shoes overwork the muscles on your lower back and also lead to poor posture.
If you want to wear high heels, always carry another pair of flat walking shoes. These are perfect for the office as they promote an upright posture and ideal support for your spinal cord. You should also stretch your legs regularly to prevent pain and strengthen muscles.
Riding the Wrong Bike
More people prefer riding today and while this is a healthy exercise, choosing the wrong type of bike can lead to back pains. You will experience back pains if you hunch over to grab your handlebars. Pro cyclists do this but only during racing. You should be comfortable when riding and avoid being too stretched or cramped on your bike.
Overloading your Bag
This applies mostly to students and anyone else who carries a bag on their back. You will strain your back and tire out muscles if you overload your bag. It also leads to poor posture as you end up hunched to support the load on your back.
If you have to carry a lot of stuff, choose a well-fitted bag with broad, padded, adjustable shoulder straps. These will spread the weight evenly on your back and avoid straining the lower back muscles.
Poor Sleeping Habits
Good sleep is essential for your health and overall wellbeing. While you might be getting enough sleep, the wrong choice of mattress or poor sleeping position could be causing your back problems. The wrong choice of mattress leads to poor sleeping posture and you will wake up with back pains.
When choosing a mattress, go for a one that is firm enough to support your back. However, it should also be soft enough to fit the shape of your body. A good mattress alleviates back problems and also helps manage any such pain.
If you have back pains, sleeping on your back is the best position to deal with the problem. Place a rolled towel under your knees to attain the natural curve of your back. You should avoid sleeping on your tummy if you have back problems as you will end up tossing and turning.
Poor Eating Habits
If you love indulging in your favorite meals, it’s time to stop as this can lead to back pains. Those extra pounds will strain the muscles and bones in your back.
Overindulging can also lead to being overweight or obese and this shifts your entire center of gravity forward. You will hunch forward and this puts additional strain on the muscles in your back. It is advisable to check your ideal weight and try to maintain it.
Eating right also promotes healthy circulation. This brings nutrients to the spine and removes waste. A back-healthy diet includes soy, nuts, whole grains, and seeds, vegetables, protein (chicken, fish, lean meat), and fruit. These foods reduce inflammation.
Healthy fats from avocado and salmon should also feature in your diet. They are crucial for building strong muscles, bones, and soft tissue in the back area. You should also include foods rich in calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D in your diet.
Lifting Weight Incorrectly
Lifting weights incorrectly is one of the many causes of back pain. Don’t lift any significant weight while in an upright posture as this exerts sudden pressure on your back muscles. Instead, bend your knees slightly and bring the weight close to your body. At the same time, keep your head down and back straight and then use the power of your legs to lift.
Lack of Exercises
If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, you are at more risk of back pain. Exercises increase blood flow to the back area thus decreasing inflammation and reducing muscle tension. If you suffer from back pains, you should not rest as this will exacerbate the problem.
Try low-impact exercises such as walking or biking which promote blood supply through the discs. Other exercises that can help with back pain include stretching, yoga, strength training and Pilates.
Ignoring that Pain
Body pain is common but that doesn’t mean it should be ignored. Pain in sensitive areas such as the back needs immediate attention to alleviate any further problems. Most people ignore pain or take pain killers in the hope that it will go away.
If you have persistent backache, talking to your chiropractor is a smart decision. These professionals have the expertise to diagnose the underlying problem and create a tailored treatment plan. You might find thousands of back pain solutions online but without the right diagnosis, you might end up exacerbating the problem.
Back pain can bring your life to a halt, and for this reason, you need to do your best to prevent it. Some of these daily habits look harmless but they might end up altering your life due to debilitating back damage. If you already experience those pain spasms, make sure you avoid these everyday habits and also talk to your doctor for a correct diagnosis. The good thing is that back pain is treatable and manageable.