Back Pain has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. It is now the second most common reason that people visit their doctors (behind the common cold), and is also a common cause of surgery and hospitalization. 56% of people who suffer from back pain, and specifically lower back pain, say that it interferes with their daily lives and makes it more difficult to complete their daily routines. In fact, people in a recent survey said that their lower back pain interfered with their sleep, work, and sex life, and was one of the most common causes of a change in their routines.
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There are several different causes of back pain. But often times it is not one injury that causes the damage but a series of daily habits and events that have a cumulative effect on your back health. Even some activities that seem innocent may be contributing to your back pain. Knowing all about what these daily habits, activities and movements are can help you to correct them, and help alleviate your back pain!
These 12 common activities and habits (or lack thereof) may be contributing to your back pain, and the quick fixes provided can help you find relief:
Bad Habit #1: Sitting at a desk all day
The Habit: Who doesn't enjoy a good sit? While sitting may seem comfortable, prolonged sitting can actually damage your back. Sitting puts about 40% more pressure on your spine than standing, and that can lead to back pain. Considering that many people have desk jobs where sitting is unavoidable, or have to sit to use a computer, it makes sense that back pain is becoming more and more common.
How you can fix it: Be mindful of your posture! When sitting at your desk, doctors suggest sitting at a 135⁰ angle. This is a slightly reclined angle that will reduce the pressure on your spine. Obviously this is not an angle that you can do at all times, but you should try to do it as often as possible. Try doing it while taking a break every once in a while, or sit back while talking on the phone or reading paperwork. Even small breaks like that can help your spine.
Bad Habit #2: Spending a lot of time in the car
The Habit: Similar to the problem with sitting at a desk all day, sitting in a car often can also cause lower back pain. Sitting in a car causes your chest muscles to tighten and your shoulders to become round, and many people find themselves slumping forward into an aggressive position. Repeatedly being in this position can eventually start to damage your back.
How you can fix it: Being in the car less would help, but that is not an option for most people. Try to keep your posture in mind while driving: sit at a 90⁰ angle and as close to the steering wheel as possible.
Bad Habit #3: You are not exercising enough
The Habit: Many people may think that exercise while your back is hurting is a very bad idea, but there are some benefits to exercising even when you have back pain. New research shows that around 40% of people reduce or stop their exercising when their back pain starts, but that may actually make their condition worse.
How you can fix it: Even if your back is hurting, try to go to the gym or fit in some other form of activity. Even something as simple as taking frequent walks can help with your back pain, while also helping to get rid of the stiffness that is commonly associated with lower back problems.
Bad Habit #4: You are not doing Yoga
The Habit: Many people are going to laugh at this, especially men, because they do not take Yoga seriously and refuse to do it. But yoga has a ton of health benefits and is a great exercise for people suffering with back pain. Most importantly it helps to build your core muscles, which helps to support your spine. So even if you hurt your back, you can recover quicker.
How you can fix it: Join a yoga class! They can easily be found at your local gym, a private studio, or even the YMCA. Talk to the instructor beforehand and tell him about your back problems, so that they can best determine how to accommodate your needs.
Bad Habit #5: You do crunches, but you're doing them wrong
The Habit: While doing crunches can be great to strengthen your core muscles, doing them incorrectly can cause way more harm than good. Traditional sit-ups and crunches are notoriously difficult to do with proper form, and an improper form can severely strain your back. And many people continue with the exercise even after hurting their back, which only causes more damage.
How you can fix it: Slow down and be mindful of your form! Proper form can make all the difference in the world. If you are worried that you are not doing the crunches correctly, try a different abdominal workout. For example, planks are much easier to perform and may actually be even more effective in strengthening your core muscles.
Bad Habit #6: You do not eat good food
The Habit: People who eat well tend to have less back pain. Your weight and heart health can contribute to how your back feels. Better circulation makes for a better back. Studies have shown that people with healthy arteries were less likely to experience back pain.
How you can fix it: Start eating healthier! Eat foods that naturally reduce inflammation. Avoid caffeine, processed foods, additives and preservatives as much as possible. Doing this can make your back feel better rather quickly. A diet high in whole grains, soy, lean protein, and vegetables will help improve your back health.
With all stretches and exercises, be sure to consult your doctor before performing them. The last 6 Bad Habits will be in our second part, coming soon!
The Illinois Back Institute is dedicated to educating people, because we know that the more that you know about your problem the more likely you are to eliminate it. If you are suffering from Back Pain of any kind, we can help. Call today to schedule a Free Consultation at 844-408-0462, or you can also click the left button below to schedule online. If you would like to know more or sign up for our Free Educational Seminar you can click on the middle button. And if you would like to learn about Sciatica you can sign up for our Free Sciatica Series by clicking the right button:
Disclaimer: The content on this web site is for information purposes only and should never be used as the basis for diagnosis or treatment. We always recommend consulting a qualified professional before embarking on any form of self treatment or rehabilitation.
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