6 Daily Habits that May Be Responsible for Your Back Pain

Everyday Things that Could Lead to Back Pain

A woman suffering from back pain.
A woman suffering from back pain.. Tom Le Goff/Getty Images

Back pain is one of the most common conditions seen by doctors, and this pain accounts for half a million surgeries each year in the United States. A majority of people with pain in the lower back state that their symptoms disrupt everyday activities and responsibilities. There is an array of factors contributing to back pain. More often than not, pain is a combination of trivial everyday habits that can build up and cause symptoms over time.

Listed are the most common mistakes that cause lower back pain and how to fix them.

1) You’re chained to your desk. Sitting down puts more pressure on your spine than standing. When you’re pounding away at your keyboard trying to meet your deadlines, taking time to stand up and stretch out might understandably not be too high on your list of priorities. But failing to stretch can eventually lead to pain because your back muscles weaken from lack of use. Even worse, not moving your joints can cause them to be insufficiently lubricated and speed up the aging process.

Prevention: Leaning back to a 135 degree angle can lessen the pressure on your spinal discs. Try to make sure that the curvature of your spine is comfortably supported by your chair and that your head is straight when looking at the computer screen. If possible, stand up and walk around every 30 minutes or so.

2) Your commute is long. Leaning over the steering wheel for long periods of time can cause you to hunch your shoulders as your chest muscles naturally tighten from being in the same position.

This posture will inevitably cause neck and back problems and deplete your energy level. Prevention: Sit up straight at a 90 degree angle with your seat pulled up close to the steering wheel so there is no need to stretch out your legs in a compromising position.

3) You avoid the gym. Research has revealed that many individuals reduce their frequency of activity.

This has shown to worsen back pain and speed up its onset. Prevention: Get moving! Walking and stretching the hips and hamstrings can ease muscle tightness.

4) You’re not the healthiest eater. Of course eating well is good for your heart, but did you know it is also good for your back? Research shows that individuals with back pain are more likely to have clogged arteries. Narrow arteries impede the proper flow of nutrients and waste to and from the spine, causing inflammation and pain. Prevention: Avoid processed foods and large quantities of caffeine, and increase your intake of grains, nuts, proteins, fruits and veggies.

5) You’re sleeping on an old mattress. The National Sleep Foundation suggests replacing your mattress every 5-7 years if you have trouble sleeping or if you have back pain. Prevention: Find a mattress that isn’t too firm or squishy. A hard mattress can increase spinal pressure and cause your pain to spike. Tucking a pillow in between your knees can also help to relieve back discomfort if you sleep on your side.

If you are a back sleeper place the pillow under your knees, and if you are a stomach snoozer try putting the pillow under your belly and hips.

6) You don’t take the time to “veg out”. When you’re stressed out, your entire body, including your neck and back muscles, tenses up. If you are under constant stress, these muscles will remain tight. You need to give these muscles a chance to rest. Prevention: Find the stress reliever that works for you. Whether it is exercising, socializing with friends, or reading an intriguing book, prioritize ways to calm down each day.

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