Did you know? Back pain is one of the most common medical conditions with as high as 80% of Americans experiencing crucial lower back pain during their lifetimes. Let’s dive deeper into the topic.
Back pain is the leading cause of disability leading to about 264 million lost workdays in a year. While some of the most common causes of back pain are strained muscles, sprained ligaments, ruptured disks or sport injuries, back pain can also result from bad habits or an underlying disease of the internal organs. Let’s find out more.
Common Causes of Back Pain
Being a Couch Potato
One of the most common causes for lower back pain is hunching over your desk for prolonged hours. This causes tremendous pressure on your lower back disks. A clever way to tackle with this situation is to take short 5 minutes breaks between work, stand up and stretch your body or try simple exercises like raising your hands and bending down to touch your toes.
We all know that slouching is bad, but did you know that standing too straight could be a threat to your body too? Looking down at your phone while in a standing position or hunching over your desk can lead to serious back pain at a later stage in life. Keep your knees slightly bent while standing. This allows the balls of your feet to bear your weight. Always keep the middle of your TV or computer screen at eye level while seated.
Not only does smoking affect the heart and the lungs, eventually leading to cancer, but it also causes lower back pain. People with a history of smoking, hypertension and coronary artery disease are at a high risk for atherosclerosis, that is associated with lower back pain. In the words of Dr. Ed Barry, “The intervertebral disc already has a compromised blood supply by about our mid-thirty’s and smoking in mid-life and beyond further compromises the blood supply to the disc and exacerbates lower back problems.”
Choosing the correct mattress and the correct pillow is of utmost importance for a peaceful night’s sleep. A firm or medium firm mattress is most recommended. Consult with your doctor on the type of pillow or mattress that is best suited for your body, be it a gel, a memory foam or a fiberfill pillow. For back sleepers, thinner pillows with extra padding in the bottom for neck support works best. Keeping a pillow underneath your knees provides extra support to your back while at rest. For side sleepers, it is best to place a firm pillow between the legs. If you prefer to sleep on your stomach, holding a body pillow might be your best option. The body pillow will help to align the rest of your body.
Stress & Anxiety
Sleep is great for relaxing the mind and the body. Dr. Barry says, “Stress always hits us in the weakest area of our body, so, if you have elevated stress in your life and you have a history of lower back pain, expect the back pain to be worsened.” Workload, peer pressure, family problems, anxiety, all lead to disturbed sleep. Listening to meditation music while in bed can free your mind off the stress and help you sleep better.
High heels are a craze but wearing those fashionable stilettos for a prolonged duration will affect your spine, putting added pressure on your feet. Flats or heels less than one inch are your best choice.