Back pain is something that most people will experience at some point in their lives. It can be due to overuse, age or a chronic condition. Something as simple as poor posture or everyday lifestyle choices can affect back health and comfort. Identifying any of these factors in your own life can help reduce both present back pain and your chances of ever experiencing it at all.
1. Diet & Exercise
Lack of exercise or improper diet can cause the onset or increase of back pain in any individual. Incorporating activity and a healthy diet into your everyday life can help to greatly reduce back pain. There are numerous reasons for this. First of all, the less a person weighs, the less amount of strain on joints they will experience. Staying active also increases muscle tone and back strength, resulting in better support of your body and reduction in pain. Many people have jobs where they are sitting at a desk in the same position for many hours, which can wreak havoc on back health. Sitting still for too long can restrict blood supply to discs, which can make your chance of disc injury rise. If you fall into this category, make sure you take time to step away from your desk and move your body every once in a while.
2. Improper Posture
Something as simple as sitting up straight can positively affect back pain. Slumped shoulders causes pull on your back and increased back strain and pain. As a rule of thumb, make sure your ears are over your shoulders, your shoulders over your hips and your hips over your knees. In other words, make sure your body makes a smooth, straight line when standing. By making a mindful effort to improve posture day-to-day, you will soon see improvement in how your back feels in no time!
3. Unsupportive Sleep
The way you sleep and what you sleep on can be a “make or break” factor for back pain relief. Make sure your sleeping position is ideal for back support and comfort. Lying on your back is the best option, but if you can’t seem to fall asleep this way, lying on your side is the next best thing. The worst sleeping position for back support is lying on your stomach. So if this is your go-to sleeping position, you may want to make an effort to change that habit. The condition of your mattress is also a major influence on the quality of your back health. Look for a mattress with a medium firmness and make sure you replace it every eight years to reach optimum support and comfort.
4. A Heavy Bag
Believe it or not, that purse or tote bag you lug around day-to-day can be greatly reducing your quality of life by increasing your back pain. The weight of the bag can actually change the curve of your spine. So before you head out in the morning, make sure you’re only carrying around the things that you absolutely need, and leave the rest at home. This should reduce the weight of your bag and ultimately relieve the strain and your shoulders and pain.
Cigarettes are infamous for causing a plethora of health problems, mostly dealing with the lungs and heart. But did you know this bad habit could also affect your chances of getting back pain? Smoking stops essential oxygen from getting to your cells, which can directly affect back motion. It can also cause less blood flow to discs in the back. According to a recent study, it can affect the brain, as well. Smoking can affect the brain’s response to pain, causing it to be more sensitive towards it. In fact, studies have shown that smokers have twice the chance of developing low back pain than non-smokers.
Both physical and emotional stress can increase the pain felt in the lower back and all over the body. Lack of physical activity and increase in sensitivity can be reasons why this is the case. It can also cause you to tighten your muscles and experience bulging discs, which contribute to the pain. Exercising and meditation are two ways to quell stress and stress-induced back pain. Consulting with your doctor or therapist are also approaches you can take.