When it comes to back pain none of us is exempt whether its children carrying large school bags or adults hunched over a keyboard all day. Back pain doesn’t discriminate based on age, weight, gender or body mass index. For most of us back pain can prevent us from enjoying every day parts of life, and it can even put a stop to regular workout routines.
Although improperly performing exercise motions can lead to back injuries, there are many other culprits for back pain, many of which we may not even realize are the sources of our pain. The key to eliminating or relieving back pain is to recognize every day sources.
[Sitting for long periods, hunched over a desk is the #1 source of back pain.]
Keep reading to find out why your back hurts and what you can do about it!
Ergonomic Office Chairs
Of course these chairs are comfortable, they are luxurious and they just might be what is causing your persistent backache. It’s not that these fancy office chairs don’t work, but sitting in anything for 8 hours without brief breaks can cause lingering back pain. No matter how ergonomically efficient a chair is, you still need to stand up and stretch your back once in awhile.
The other problem with these chairs, according to Todd Sinett, a chiropractor in New York, is that many of these chairs that promise lumbar support only work if the support is positioned at the base of your spine. Otherwise, you just have a very expensive source of back pain.
Relieve It By: Get up and walk around and stretch your back every 60 minutes, for about 5 minutes.
This particular source of back pain is especially true for women, who strut around in ultra-high stilettos or sling-backs which change the way in which your foot hits the ground. The typical (right) way your foot hits the ground should be a forward motion that goes heel then toe. In high heels like stilettos, your gait is toe then the rest of your foot which changes where the weight is distributed on the spine. This instability can cause major and chronic back pain.
[The wrong shoes that look “just right” could be causing your back pain!]
But fellas aren’t exempt here either; during summer months we are ALL susceptible when we break out flip flops and other backless shoes and sandals. Any shoe that doesn’t provide your heel with a stable base of support can cause instability, which inevitably puts even more pressure on your spine.
Relieve It By: Wear shoes that hold your foot in place, which means buying the right size shoes and avoiding styles that let your heel slide around. Also, many chiropractors recommend wearing heels that are 3 inches or less in height. Walk around in these heels before you purchase and see where the weight positions on your spine; if it’s uncomfortable be prepared for back pain.
When it comes to the single largest source of back pain for those under 40, it is certainly technology. Take me for example; not only do I spend all day typing (hunching) over my laptop to spread the word about weight loss and fitness, but in my spare time I’m hunched over my Kindle or watching videos on my iPad while sending emails with my smartphone. Technology overload, right?
Well as it turns out that is exactly what we all do: hunch and hover over our devices. This head down posture, according to Heidi Prather of Washington University in St. Louis, strains our neck muscles which can send the pain radiating down the entire back.
Relieve It By: There are many things you can do to alleviate this pain: buy a stand for your tablet or get a lap board/cushion for your laptop. Find a way to hold your device at an angle that doesn’t require you to hunch over with your neck strained. If all else fails, take a break from your device at least once an hour…no matter how hard you find it!
It’s the Weight
If you suffer from chronic pain then someone in your life has probably told you that dropping a few pounds will alleviate that pain. As much as you hate to hear it, they are absolutely right. This is why pregnant women and those who are overweight often have pain radiating down the back.
The reason? Well excess fat in the midsection makes your pelvic tilt forward and out of alignment while your body works to stay balanced.
Relieve It By: A well balanced diet and regular exercise will help you lose a few pounds, which can go a long way to alleviate the pain. In the meantime there is an easy stretch you can do to take a load off your lumbar discs: tighten your abs and hold for 10 seconds then release.
One more thing you can do is eat more whole grains. A Tufts University study found that those who ate 3 or more whole grain servings each day had as much as 10% less abdominal fat, particularly compared to those who ate little or no whole grains.
[A massage is a relaxing way to relieve your back pain…and stress too!]
Every Day Fixes
You can do things that will help you alleviate back pain before it even begins. A few proactive steps can help you keep back pain where it belongs—as a distant memory.
- Exercise is one of the best ways to get rid of your back pain. Instead of lying in bed all day, which can make back pain worse, exercising improves circulation to the spine and relaxes tense muscles.
- Stretching is an effective way of alleviating tension that builds up after long periods of sitting or hunching. Do yoga stretches or basic pre or post-workout stretches to relax the muscles in your back.
- Massage is another way in which you can fix the alignment in your back that can become misaligned by wearing heels or flip flops. Speak with a massage therapist to see which type of massage can help your back.
- Chiropractor Visits can also help re-align the spine in order to relieve pain. Chiropractors can also provide you with other forms of therapy that can take the pressure off your spine.
Those of you who are resigned to back pain no longer have to be. Take proactive steps like those mentioned above to stay pain-free or to at least help you manage the pain.
Losing weight can provide tremendous relief for those suffering from back pain, but if weight isn’t a problem, take a look at other reasons and make sure you take a break from long periods of sitting.