5 Habits That Lead to Back Pain

By: Ehren Allen, PT, Certified Manual Therapist

Our backs have a lot of responsibility in our lives. They play the lead role and the supporting role in just about every activity we do, whether it’s a small twisting movement in the kitchen or out playing with the kids.

The back takes a lot of wear and tear over the years and unfortunately we do not do a lot to build it up and keep it healthy like we should. Most of us do not even know we are doing it.  It is very common when to have a lower back strain in the activities of our daily living.  As clinicians we are often asked why do I have lower back pain?  Here are the top 5 habits which may cause your low back pain. 

To learn more about back pain remedy, go to: https://www.joionline.net/trending/content/back-pain-remedy

Anatomy of the Spine

Lower Back AnatomyLower Back Anatomy 

If you would like to learn more about the spine, please go to this video: Anatomy of the Spine

Here are 5 of the top habits that lead to low back pain.

1. Sitting at a Desk                            

Sitting increases the stress on our spine and muscles 40 percent more than when we stand. When slouching your joints become idle and stiff and your chest muscles tighten rounding your back putting stress on the spine and back muscles. 

To alleviate these problems take frequent breaks to get up and walk around for a minute or two. Standing desks are a great solution if you have a desk job. If you have a phone call you need to make, lean back in your chair. 

If these are not possible do your best to sit with your hips slightly above your knees, with your feet flat on the floor, and chin tucked back. Do not forget a good chair with lumbar support to help decrease back pain.

2. Not Exercising 

Increase in weight specifically in the stomach is exactly like carrying a heavy load around all day with poor lifting mechanics.

Doing light exercise and working on losing weight will help with back pain by decreasing the load put on the spine and the muscles supporting it. Although exercising may seem counter-intuitive for back pain, sitting around all day increases tense muscle pain and stiffness of joints. 

Getting out to do something and getting blood pumping in those muscles can help reduce the stiffness you feel in those back muscles. While you are up and moving for exercise, don’t forget to stretch. 

A good stretch can help alleviate some of the chronic back pain you are experiencing as well. Many cases of low back pain can be attributed to poor flexibility. If you need a new exercise to improve flexibility, try some yoga!

3. Having Poor Posture

Poor posture over an extended period of time can lead to back pain. This pain can be muscle related, but if you keep poor posture long enough it can cause anatomical changes to the spine.

A rounded spine from poor posture causes your back muscles to lengthen and chest muscle to shorten leaving you with a rounded upper back. This is a leading cause of upper back pain. 

This happens when one is hunched over looking at a computer screen or more recently with the younger generations “text neck” from texting and scrolling on phones all the time. 

4. Heavy Bags

With the increase in laptop use, both men and women are at risk for back pain from carrying heavy bags. Just as when lifting heavy objects, you want to load the spine and support muscles evenly on both sides. 

Failure to do so subjects them to injury. The best thing to do when you are carrying a laptop is to use a backpack type bag. To avoid back pain and unnecessary loading of the spine, downsize to a small purse that holds the necessities; wallet, phone, keys, and/or glasses. 

5. Not Managing Stress

We all have stress. When we don’t find a way to manage it our back pays for it. Most people when stressed tend to tense up. This leads to tight muscles in our backs and necks which in turn causes pain. 

Managing stress is done in many different ways. Take a walk. Take a few deep breaths. Some people like to clean. It does not matter how you do it, just find a way to decrease the stress in your life. Your back will thank you for it. 

If you want to learn more about low back pain, go to: https://www.joionline.net/trending/content/low-back-pain.

Lower back stretch may help reduce the pain. However, if it is too painful to complete any back stretches, please talk to your primary care doctor. 

To schedule with a Spine or Back Orthopaedic Specialist, please call 904-JOI-2000, schedule online or click below. 

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