These Habits Could Be Hurting Your Back
Back pain sends more people to the doctor than any condition other than the common cold. Surprisingly, few cases of back pain are the results of a serious accident or injury—it’s everyday habits that could be causing all these aches and pains.
Here are 6 mistakes that may be causing you back pain and how to correct them:
Bad Back Habit #1: Sitting for Too Long
Did you know that sitting puts 40% more pressure on your spine than when standing? Sitting hunched over at your desk all day long is one of the worst things you can do for your back. Your back muscles will weaken if you don’t use them—inactive joints will lose lubrication and age more quickly than normal.
How to correct it: Try to get up from your desk every half hour and walk around for at least two minutes. Focus on proper posture while you are sitting down by avoiding bending forward, keeping a neutral spine position, feet flat on the floor, shoulders relaxed and eyes in line with the middle of your screen.
Bad Back Habit #2: Not Exercising
Exercising will help to alleviate aches and pains and get rid of your back pain quickly. Walking, stretching and yoga will help to speed up healing. Don’t skip the gym—strengthening and stretching your muscles regularly will help back pain and may prevent it from starting.
How to correct it: Exercise regularly! Research shows that people who become less active after back pain may delay healing or even make their condition worse. Take frequent walks, stretch your hamstrings and hips or try yoga. Your back will thank you.
Bad Back Habit #4: Overloading Your Purse or Briefcase
Carrying around pounds of possessions jammed into a bag can lead to back pain and problems.
How to correct it: clean your bag frequently and take out any unnecessary items from your purse or briefcase. The max safe weight is 10% of your body weight. Think about switching to a backpack since they distribute weight evenly on your back instead of over one shoulder.
Bad Back Habit #4: Eating Unhealthy
Carrying excess weight will definitely take a toll on the back. Extra pounds shift your center of gravity forward creating added stress on your lower back. If your diet is high in fat and full of calories it will lead to weight gain which can then lead to back pain and painful joints.
How to correct it: one of the most important things you can do for your back pain is to reach and maintain a healthy weight. Start eating a ‘healthy back diet’ (or this link?) and to prevent and lower your back pain today.
Bad Bad Habit #5: Sleeping in the Wrong Position or on an Old Mattress
If you are sleeping on an old, worn-out mattress it may cause your spine to sag. A mattress should support your back—there shouldn’t be air between your body and mattress when you lie down. Poor sleep posture could also cause immediate pain and long-term damage.
How to correct it: make some simple changes in your sleeping position and find your best sleeping posture. Also be sure to replace your mattress every 5-7 years to ensure it gives your back the support it needs.
Bad Back Habit #6: Wearing the Wrong Shoes
High heels are not the best thing for your back causing those muscles to work even harder. Even flat shoes, if they’re wrong ones for your feet, can affect your gait and lead to back pain if they are the wrong fit or the soles are worn out.
How to correct it: always replace old shoes and remember that the fit is most important when choosing your shoes.
Back pain can get progressively worse if left untreated. Contact Physical Therapy will help you get to the bottom of your back pain and provide treatment to prevent further injury.