Why That Back Hurts and How to Prevent It

If you’ve ever groaned ,”oh my aching back!”You are not alone.Back pain is an all-too-familiar problem that can range from dull,constant ache to a sudden,sharp pain that leaves you incapacitated.According to National health Service,back pain may now be the leading cause of disability worldwide,affecting 8 out of 10 people at some point in their lives.

Although,for some,taking a hike or riding a motorcycle is the epitome of fun,for others,it can be a pain-literally.From muscle cramps and fatigue to the backaches,neck pain and wrist stiffness.Pain can oftentimes ruin these quintessential warm-weather activities.

Most back pain goes away on it’s own though it may take a while.Acute back pain,lasts less than six weeks and maybe caused by a fall or in-apposite heavy lifting.Back pain that lasts more than three months is treated as chronic back pain as explained by the National institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

Given our espoused lifestyles,back pain can be self inflicted due to a lifetime of bad habits.What kind of habits? you may ask.Below are couple that we are almost guilty of.

BACK PAIN CAUSES

weight

Weight

According to Spine-Health, overweight people have an increased risk for back pain. This is especially true for people with extra weight around the midsection, which pulls the pelvis forward, creating stress on the lower back.

People carrying extra kilos also may experience sciatica and low back pain from a herniated disc or a pinched nerve caused compensating for the weight.

Back pain during pregnancy is a run-of-the-mill.This maybe due to hormonal changes,posture changes,muscle separation and stress.Weight gain during this period is inevitable.

Prevent it:Maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise not only reducing existing back pain, but also can help prevent certain types of back problems in the future. For example, overweight and obese people have an increased risk for osteoarthritis as they age.

 

sedentary-lifestyle

Sedentary Lifestyle

Chances are you’re reading this article while perched in a chair.And if you are like most computer users(me),you’ve been there for a while.

Consider how much you sit in a day: driving during your morning commute to an 8-hour-a-day desk job, and then unwinding on the couch in front of the television all evening. What’s more, do you depend on email, cell phone apps, direct-deposit paychecks, and online shopping to accomplish tasks that 10 or 20 years ago would have required you to get up and run errands?

If so, then you may have “sitting disease,” a catchy phrase for a sedentary lifestyle that might be putting your health at risk.

Sedentary people miss out on the benefits of regular physical activity, including nourishment of spinal discs, soft tissues and ligaments. When there’s a lack of exercise, discs become malnourished and degenerated.

Prevent it:Participating in a regular exercise program that includes stretching, strengthening and low-impact aerobic conditioning can help heal existing problems and prevent future ones.

Movement and exercise also keep the spine healthy, flexible and strong. Gentle forms of exercise, such as yoga, Pilates, water therapy, riding a stationary bike or walking, are especially helpful.”

 

old-shoes

Old Shoes

Yes,you read that right!We all know that stilettos are not the best shoes for your back. But even a sensible pair of shoes can change your gait and lead to back pain if the soles are worn out.

Worn out soles of shoes can lead to unwanted back pain by precluding your body from maintaining proper alignment which often times causes low back pain.
Individuals who have high arches tend to do better with shoes that have a decent heel size while those with flat feet can alleviate back pain by wearing flat shoes.

lifting-technique

Lifting Techniques

Whether you lift every day or occasionally, knowing how to do it properly especially if you’re out of shape or overweight can reduce your chance of hurting your back.

Prevent it:To lift correctly: Always be sure to bend your knees, keep your back straight and tighten your abdominal muscles when lifting. Keep your shoulders in line with your hips to avoid twisting. Hold the weight close to your body. Don’t lift anything that’s too heavy without assistance.

sitting-postureSitting posture

Poor posture also factors among back pain causes.Our society has a head-forward posture, but leaning your head forward or slumping your shoulders can pull on your back and cause pain. Make a conscious effort to maintain a good posture during the day to ease or help prevent back pain.

Prevent it

  • Sit up with your back straight and your  shoulders down and back,elbows relaxed at your sides.Your buttocks should touch the back of your chair.
  • Avoid crossing your legs.This weakens your core muscles and can lead to stiffness in your lower back and pelvic area.Your feet should be firmly on the floor.
  • Your thighs should be at right angles to your body or sloping slightly down.
  • When sitting in a chair that rolls and pivots,don’t twist at the waist while sitting.Instead,turn your whole body.
  • Don’t sit in one position for long stretches of time.Get up and move around at least every 45 minutes.Don’t forget to stretch.
  • When standing up,avoid bending forward at your waist.Stand up by straightening your legs.

 

unsupportive-bra

An unsupportive bra

A lot of women suffer from back pain because of unsupportive bras. This is especially common in bosomy women.The curve of the spine can be thrown off. The result of this reality is upper back pain.

Prevent it:The solution is to find and wear a bra that gives you the support you need to keep weight closer to the body.That means wearing the correct size of the bra.

old-mattress

Old Mattress

A mattress should give you uniform support ,so there shouldn’t be air between your body and the mattress when you lie down. Experts recommend going with a mattress that has medium firmness to avoid back pain symptoms. But probably the most important factor is the age of your mattress.

Prevent it:if you’re sinking in when you lie down, it’s probably time to get a new one to help keep back pain away.

shoulder-bag

 

Shoulder bag

Any time you have to balance the weight of a purse, shoulder bag, or even a heavy wallet in a back pocket (which can put pressure on your sciatic nerve and cause pain), you change the curve of your spine and that can lead to back pain.

Prevent it: Before you grab your wallet or purse the next time you leave the house, ask yourself if you really need to haul it around with you. At the least, clean out your purse and wallet and leave most of your cards in a drawer at home so you have less to carry and won’t aggravate back pain symptoms.

 

stress

 

Stress

For physical and emotional reasons, any type of stress can make back pain worse, even good stress such as winning the lottery or getting married.Depression has also been known to aggravate back pain symptoms. It’s probably a combination of lifestyle (becoming sedentary when you’re overwhelmed with stress or depression) and the fact that emotions can make pain feel worse.

Prevent it:Taking good care of yourself when you’re stressed by doing relaxation and breathing exercises and finding time to exercise every day even if it’s nothing more than a 10- or 15-minute walk can help prevent back problems.

 

Quit smoking

That cigarette

There are many reasons to quit smoking, but here’s one more: Cigarettes hurt more than just your heart and lungs. In fact, smoking deprives cells all over your body of oxygen, including those that control the motion of your back. Studies show that smokers are more than twice as likely to develop lower back pain than those who have never smoked.

Prevent it:Give up that smoke,the prospect of living free of back pain is well worth it.

weekend-warfare

Weekend Warfare

Tackling those “Honey Do” lists at home can also set you up for an injury especially if you were idle most of the week.

Good news is,back pain doesn’t have to limit your daily activities. Mayo clinic recommends a couple of exercises for that insistent back pain.

Keep in mind that not all exercises will help relieve you from the back pains.Patients with osteoporosis might need to consult with a physician before hand.

Knee-to-chest-stretch

lb00001_d-knee-to-chest-stretch-1

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor (A). Using both hands, pull up one knee and press it to your chest (B). Tighten your abdominal and press your spine to the floor. Hold for 5 seconds. Return to the starting position (A) and repeat with the opposite leg (C). Return to the starting position and then repeat with both legs at the same time (D). Repeat each stretch two to three times — preferably once in the morning and once at night.

Lower Back Rotational Exercise

lb00001_d-lower-back-rotational-stretch

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor (A). Keeping your shoulders firmly on the floor, roll your bent knees to one side (B). Hold for five to 10 seconds. Return to the starting position (C). Repeat on the opposite side (D). Repeat each stretch two to three times — preferably once in the morning and once at night.

Lower Back Flexibility Exercise


lb00001_d-lower-back-flexibility-exercise

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor (A). Tighten your abdominal muscles so your stomach pulls away from your waistband (B). Hold for five seconds and then relax. Flatten your back, pulling your bellybutton toward the floor (C). Hold for five seconds and then relax. Repeat. Start with five repetitions each day and gradually work up to 30.

Bridge Exercise


lb00001_d-bridge-exercise

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor (A). Keeping your shoulders and head relaxed on the floor, tighten your abdominal and gluteal muscles. Then raise your hips to form a straight line from your knees to your shoulders (B). Try to hold the position long enough to complete three deep breaths. Return to the starting position (C). Repeat. Start with five repetitions each day and gradually work up to 30.

Cat Stretch

 

lb00001_d-cat-stretch

Position yourself on your hands and knees (A). Slowly arch your back, as if you’re pulling your abdomen up toward the ceiling (B). Then slowly let your back and abdomen sag toward the floor (C). Return to the starting position (A). Repeat three to five times twice a day.

Seated Lower Back Rotational Stretch


lb00001_d-seated-lower-back-rotational-stretch

Sit on an armless chair or a stool. Cross your right leg over your left leg. Bracing your left elbow against the outside of your right knee, twist and stretch to the side (A). Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side (B). Repeat this stretch three to five times on each side twice a day.

Shoulder Blade Squeeze

lb00001_d-shoulder-blade-squeeze

Sit on an armless chair or a stool (A). While maintaining good posture, pull your shoulder blades together (B). Hold for five seconds and then relax. Repeat three to five times twice a day.

The greatest medicine of all

is to teach people how not to need it

Hippocrates

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