Back pain is a hugely common health problem with people of all ages, and it can be caused by a wide range of factors from lifting something that was too heavy for you to being involved in an auto accident, developing a condition like arthritis or bursitis, or simply living in a way that puts excess pressure on your spine each day.
Tens of millions of Americans report experiencing severe bouts of back pain every single year, and it’s classed as one of the leading causes of disability too. If left untreated, it only gets worse, so you may need to see a specialist if you notice recurring or severe back pain for surgical treatment. In the meantime, there are various lifestyle adjustments you can make to minimize the risks and impacts of back pain.
A very common cause of back pain is poor sitting posture, and with so many people spending many hours of the day sitting down at desks, home offices, or just on the sofa while watching TV with the family, it’s very important that you get into the habit of sitting correctly at all times to be kind to your back.
When you’re sitting down, try to keep your feet flat on the floor to support some of your weight and push your back straight against the back of the chair. Aim to keep your head upright, your eyes level with a screen or monitor if you happen to be working, and your shoulders back in order to avoid hunching over.
Following on from the previous point, it’s also important to have good posture when standing and walking around, as well as while seated. This really can make all the difference for your spine, as our posture is one of the biggest contributors to general spinal health and comfort.
Spending too much time hunched over or getting into the habit of slouching while you walk can be disastrous in the long term, and many people don’t notice the effects of these bad habits until it’s too late. So, to avoid them, try to stand up straight, tucking your shoulders back, twisting your hips as you turn, and focusing on your spinal alignment as you move around.
It might sound strange, but the shoes you wear can also make a big impact on your levels of back pain and discomfort too, and many shoe brands specifically manufacture and market products for people with back pain.
Choosing the correct footwear is essential, especially if you lead an active lifestyle and do a lot of walking, jogging, or hiking. The best shoes for these activities should come with padded protection for the sole of the foot and impact-absorbing layers to minimize the shock to your spine as you walk or run. Avoid high heels or uncomfortable shoes at all costs.
Your sleeping habits can also have a real impact on your back health too, and many people suffering from back pain will be advised by their doctors to look at their current sleeping set-up and consider making some changes. For starters, sleeping on your front isn’t the best option for your back, so try to sleep on your back if you can.
You may also want to consider getting a new mattress and some new pillows if you feel that your current bed isn’t quite right. Some mattresses are too soft or firm, putting excess pressure on the spine, while others are designed for strong spinal alignment to help you wake up feeling relaxed and refreshed, without those frustrating aches and pains.
Various muscles and tendons play their part in spinal alignment and movement, allowing you to twist, turn, bend, and more, and it’s important to keep these muscles strong however you can, which is why many back experts will recommend certain stretches and movements for those with back pain.
Activities like yoga and Pilates can be highly beneficial for developing stronger back muscles and dealing with back discomfort, and there are a range of simple stretches you can try at home too. Be sure to consult a doctor before beginning any intensive new exercise regime, however.
Back pain can be so difficult and uncomfortable to cope with, and it can feel like there’s no answer to this level of discomfort. However, there are plenty of things you can do to cope with back pain, and plenty of trusted specialists out there waiting to help, so don’t suffer in silence and start being kinder to your back today.