From the younger population to the elderly individuals, we have all experienced back pain at some point in our lives. More than 50 percent of the affected individuals say that this pain affects their daily activities. It is a common cause of absence from work.
According to American Chiropractic Association, back pain is the second most common reason for visiting a doctor, second only to respiratory tract infections. The interesting fact is that most of the times it is our habits that play the role of a culprit. Our back-unfriendly habits either pull or tear the muscle and/or a ligament.
You may think that your back pain has no cure outside of taking pills. Think again; if it is your habits that are the likely cause, you can reverse the condition through practicing better habits.
Read on to find the habits that are likely to hurt our back, home-based solutions to your back pain, and other causes of back pain.
10 Things That Hurt Your Back
Prevention has always been better than cure. How good is this if we correct our mistakes that that lead to back pain? Mentioned below are 10 things that put you at risk of back pain and ways to deal with it.
1. You sit in the office chair for too long
Everyone is guilty of poor sitting patterns, be it at the office or home. With piles of work right before your eyes, spinal health is the last thing on your mind. The best example of bad sitting posture is that of dentists and those sitting at computers.
In an attempt to have a better view of that tooth, you find dentists kicking away all the good-sitting-position-knowledge and bending their heads as forward as possible.
Similarly is the case with those who sit long hours at computer screens. I don’t know if computers show a better screen resolution when you have your head posed forward and shoulders hunched, but humans have repeatedly pointed towards this possible reality through their typical sitting position while looking at a computer screen.
Here are some tips to keep stress away from your spine.
- Your chair should be as close as possible to the desk. The idea is to keep the upper arms and spine parallel to each other.
- Your elbows should be at 90-degree angle to your body. Move your chair up or down to reposition accordingly.
- The angle between your spine and the back of the chair is supposed to be 90-degrees. You do it by pressing the buttocks against the back of your chair and keeping your back straight.
- Keep a cushion at the back.
- Replace your chair if it’s too deep.
- Adjust the armrest of your chair in a way that it only lifts your arms a little at the shoulder. This will put some load off your neck and shoulders.
- Stop slouching.
With these measures, your back is less likely to have pain.
2. You have a poor driving posture
If you spend an average of 1 hour driving per day, it takes 240 hours of driving in a year. Imagine what it can do if you have poor driving posture.
Instead of bringing the driving seat forward, most people poke their neck and bring the upper back in a rounded forward position. Follow these points to keep your back from hurting.
Adjust your seat to the height that your feet can still touch the floor and you have a good view of the road. Oh, avoid hitting the roof.
- Use lumbar support to preserve the natural curve of your lower back.
- It is common to flare out the elbows while driving. Avoid doing so. Instead, keep your elbows close to your body.
- Do not poke your head forward. Keep your neck straight.
- Use your butt muscles to wake them up. While at a red signal, push the knees towards the car doors. Hold on to this position until you have to drive again. This strengthens the gluteal muscles. Weak gluteal muscles can affect your posture negatively.
3. You carry stones in your bag
In modern society, we move around with more things than ever before. Both the weight of your bag and the improper bag carrying technique are to be blamed for the backaches. Just as most humans are, we ignore the fact that this weight can contribute to health problems.
Let’s start with the upper limit for carrying weight. It should NOT be more than 10 percent of your body weight. However, most of the time, we carry way more than the suggested limit.
The first step towards managing the issue is to declutter your bags. Remove those unnecessary items you carry around. At least, take out your laptop from the purse and put it in a separate bag, and you are not going to read those four books today. Do yourself a favor, and take out the extra three. I am talking to book lovers.
Choose small bags to beat the temptation of carrying more stuff. Men should also look for smaller briefcases.
Do not carry the bag on one shoulder all the time. Switch shoulders. You can also take the bag on arms for some time.
It is a good idea to opt for backpacks. They distribute the load equally to both sides of your body. No, backpacks are not only for kids and travelers. You can even use bags that have wheels.
4. You like to ditch the gym
A countless number of ailments have lack of exercise as their predisposing factor. Similar is the case with back pain. Weak back and abdominal muscles are a sure way to have poorly supported back.
Most people spend many hours sitting at office desks, and once they are back home, their bed provides a good place to rest. Amid this, exercise is skipped.
What exercise does to your back provides both relief from pain and prevention from future backache possibilities. It strengthens, stretches, and repairs the muscles that play a supporting role for your back. Exercise also improves the nourishment of spinal structures.
If you are suffering from pain, it is best to consult a physician to rule out causes other than a muscle strain and ligament sprain.
In case you suffer from back pain, here are some good and bad exercises.
Good Exercises for Back Pain
- Partial crunches
- Hamstring stretches
- Wall Sits
- Press-up back extensions
- Bird dog
- Knee to chest
- Pelvic Tilts
- Aerobic exercises
Bad Exercises for Back Pain
- Toe touches
- Leg Lifts
Consult your physician or chiropractor before starting new exercise routine because some forms of exercise may worsen the back pain.
5. Yoga is nonexistent in your life
The ultimate goal of yoga is to gain physical and mental health benefits. Many of the yoga postures help strengthen the back muscles. Remember that abdominal and back muscles play a crucial role in proper posture and movement of your body. When these muscles are healthy, back pain is significantly reduced and can even be avoided.
Consistent yoga practice trains you to keep proper posture all day long. It also releases stress that is a contributing factor towards pain.
Try these five yoga poses to relieve back pain.
- Bird dog
- Forearm Plank
- Cow Face Pose
- Camel Pose
6. You do crunches
It is true that crunches have been in practice for years as an ab-building exercise. However, modern-day research and large cases of back problems like herniated disc associated with crunches is slowly defaming this exercise in terms of spinal health.
Steve McGill, a professor of spine biomechanics, explains that crunches are responsible for more than hundred pounds of compression on spinal discs, and the repetition of these spine bending movements can cause long-term damage.
Compression of a disc results in its outward movement which in turn presses on the spinal nerves. This is what causes back pain.
Instead of crunches, go for front planks, side planks, and hip thrust. These are more close to the natural positions of your body and are unlikely to cause back pain.
7. You do weightlifting the improper way
It happens only in the marketing world that a person lifts 100kgs of weight after consuming an energy drink. In reality, you start small and then make your way to lifting more weights.
I cannot expect to enter the gym and lift the same weights on my first day that others have taken weeks to lift. Even if I am high on red bull, this won’t happen. If it does, my back is wrecked for sure.
Preventing back pain caused by weightlifting
Are you on the road to build muscle mass? Keep these points in mind.
- You should not lift weights when you are already tired.
- Lift weights in a proper posture and form.
- Do not lift more than your capability.
- With free weights, do not work alone. Have a spotter to help you.
- Your back should NOT be bent while lifting weights.
- Lift weights using your legs.
- Keep yourself hydrated.
- Do not overdo.
By observing these things, you are likely to prevent injury and pain in the back.
8. Your mattress is as old as your first molar tooth
The first tooth in the back of your dental arch erupts at the age of six. It doesn’t come as a surprise that you still sleep on the same mattress that you had as a child. If the information never crossed your way, take note that a mattress that has been in use for 8 years is in a bad enough condition that you should change it.
Why does mattress plays an important role in the health of your back?
As the mattress age, the foam and coil spring compress, and your back no longer has the support according to spine’s alignment. Because an average individual spends 1/3rd of his life sleeping, having the right mattress is essential.
It is often believed that firm matters is a solution to your back pain, but it actually causes misalignment by pushing on pressure points. Your mattress should make you feel like floating on air; neither too soft, not too hard.
9. Your love for high-heels is never ending
How often do we suffer due to fashion and style? It happens many times. Either we try to bear the cold just to wear those short skirts, or we endure the pain of wearing high heels.
Not just your spine, but high heels also affect your hips, knees, ankles, and feet. These beautiful looking heels change your posture and gait.
While you are wearing high heels, your muscles are tensed continuously in an attempt to maintain balance. Here’s what happens to the posture when you are wearing high-heel:
- chest pushes towards the front
- lower back is forced forward
- pressure increases on balls of the feet
You can start caring for your back by decreasing the frequency of wearing high-heels.
10. You are stressed
Stress is an evil that affects every inch of your body. It causes tension in the muscles which ultimately leads to back pain. Stress then creates a cycle where your stress causes back pain, and back pain causes even more stress. If you have too much to handle, try learning some time management skills to reduce the stress in life.
OTHER CAUSES OF BACK PAIN
Back pain can represent not just the poor posture and lifestyle habits of a person, but it can also be an indication of a serious issue in need of immediate medical care. The strain of a muscle and sprain of a ligament are the most common causes of back pain. Other causes include
- Facet joint dysfunction
- Lumbar herniated disc
- Spinal stenosis
- Degenerative disc disease
- Sacroiliac joint dysfunction
- Compression fracture
- Spine osteoarthritis
- Ankylosing spondylitis
Poor posture and other habitual causes usually result in acute pain. Please consult your physician if your back pain is chronic.