Habits That Cause Lower Back Pain
Pain in your lower back can have a devastating effect on your daily lifestyle. It can change what type of physical activities you can do, it can alter your mood and thinking, and it can even lead to further health concerns.
Lower back pain can be categorized under two umbrellas: subacute low back pain and chronic back pain. Subacute back pain is pain that is short-term, typically between four and 12 weeks. These injuries tend to heal on their own with a little self-care.
Chronic back pain is when the pain lasts longer than 12 weeks. About 20 percent of people who experience subacute low back pain end up developing chronic back pain.
While back pain can be a result of serious underlying conditions such as infections or tumors, it is most often mechanical. Whenever there is a disruption in the mechanisms of your back, it is going to cause you some discomfort.
These mechanisms include your spine, muscle, intervertebral discs, and nerves. Let’s dive into some daily habits that could be causing lower back pain for you.
While you might want to crawl into bed every time you experience back pain, it can be counterproductive for pain management. Regular activity increases your blood flow, which then reduces inflammation and muscle tension in your body.
Not only does staying active help your body stay healthy and pain-free, but prolonged bed rest can increase your pain. Not only that, but it can cause depression, lead to blood clots in your leg, and decrease your muscle tone.
What can especially be dangerous is if you live a more sedentary lifestyle during the week, then ramp up your activity on the weekend. Any time a weekday routine of little to no exercise is followed by a highly active weekend workout, you will be much more susceptible to lower back pain.
While this could have been mentioned with a sedentary lifestyle, it is slightly different. Specifically, we’re talking about building your abdominal and core strength to help support your back.
Without abdominal strength, you are much more susceptible to developing poor posture and back pain. And you don’t have to pick up a heavy workout routine to avoid this. Low-impact aerobic exercises such as walking, swimming, and bicycling are a great activity for reducing lower back pain and maintaining the health of your intervertebral discs.
Pilates and yoga are also great for building your core strength, while also improving your state of mind. There have been many studies that have linked depression and stress to higher pain levels.
This all goes along with the fact that being overweight or quickly gaining significant amounts of weight can put extra stress on your lower back.
Of the many side effects that smoking has on your body, it can also be responsible for your lower back pain. Nicotine, the main ingredient in tobacco, restricts blood flow to the discs that cushion your vertebrae.
Without that blood flow, the rate of disc degeneration can increase significantly. Smoking also reduces the calcium absorption in your body and stunts your bone growth. As a result, you become more susceptible to osteoporosis, a bone disease marked by a progressive decrease in bone density and strength.
This habit can infiltrate your life in more ways than you imagine. From standing and sitting to driving a car or riding a bike, poor posture is to blame for many people’s back problems. Not only does it put stress on your spine and strain your muscles, but it can also actually change the anatomy of your spine.
The thing to remember about your posture is you need to keep the natural curve of your back while standing or sitting. Slouching, being too stretched out, or being cramped up can all hurt your back and discs.
When sitting, make sure your shoulders are back and your hips are slightly higher than your knees. If you’re looking at a monitor, keep it at eye level to avoid hunching over to look at the screen.
Your Desk Job
Speaking of sitting and looking at a monitor, your desk job can feel crippling at times. While poor posture plays a big role, it’s actually the act of sitting that many people overlook. Sitting down puts 40% more pressure on your spine than standing.
As your sitting, the discs in your back are in a squeezed position and don’t get a chance to receive the necessary nutrients and blood flow. Simple things you can do to avoid this include using standing desks, taking stretching breaks, and walking meetings.
Overloading Your Bag
With fashion and convenience still important values in our society, an excessively heavy purse or backpack can certainly lead to lower back pain. Whether it is the bag itself or the contents in it, try to minimize the things you’re carrying around on your back.
You have to be especially careful if you’re using a purse or another one-strap bag. This can cause your shoulders to become imbalanced which throws your spine off balance.
The American Chiropractic Association advises that you should never be carrying more than 10% of your body weight. Try alternating which shoulder you are carrying your bag on from day to day.
Distributing the weight between two bags (and two shoulders) will also go a long way in maintaining a healthy back.
Multiple sleeping habits can cause you back pain. The most obvious is sleeping on the wrong type of mattress. As a general rule, you want a mattress that is firm enough to support you back but soft enough to still fit the shape of your body.
There isn’t one specific mattress that is a cure-all for back pain. Your ideal mattress will depend on how you sleep and what type of back pain you’re dealing with.
When it comes to how you sleep, there are a few options that have seen positive results. The two main sleeping positions that are thought to help the most are:
- Sleeping on your back with a pillow under your knees.
- Sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees.
The most important thing to remember when sleeping is you should try to keep the natural curve of your spine.
Keeping your back in mind as you go through your day can go a long way in reducing lower back pain. Many times, the simplest activities can have a long-term effect on your spine.
Whether you’re dealing with subacute back pain or chronic back pain, avoiding these habits will give you relief even if it doesn’t completely heal the issue.
If your lower back pain keeps getting worse and is debilitating to your lifestyle, Capsiva recommends seeing a specialist for treatment and options.
If you’re looking for a product that provides pain relief and promotes healthy blood flow, order Capsiva today!