Back pain is inconvenient and widespread. According to the American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine, four out of five adults will have back pain in their lives. If you’re one of the almost 65 million Americans who reported an episode of back pain or one of the 16 million adults with constant back pain, you know this misery all too well.
Sometimes, it’s challenging to pinpoint what’s causing your back pain. Was it sleeping in a strange position, or was it from spending hours on your laptop? Did working in the garden or mopping the floor cause it to flare up? Your back pain could be a combination of the four or something else. So, how do you make it stop?
From sharp jolts of pain with movement to constant dull aches, back pain varies from debilitating to uncomfortable. You could be making the pain worse without realizing it. Scrolling Instagram, sitting, and doing other activities could contribute to your back pain. Have you ever gotten to the end of your day and felt pain and achiness in your back, but you’re not sure what caused it? This occurrence is common; most cases of back pain don’t come from a sudden injury or fall but an unknown onset. Here are some everyday habits that may be causing your back pain.
Bad posture is one of the leading causes of back pain. Sitting in a hunched position puts pressure on your lower back, leading to spasms and pain because of the change in the normal curvature of your spine. For example, slouching over your computer can cause changes in the usual posture of your spine. Doing this for a long time can cause back pain because of the persistent pressure on the spinal discs.
Working from home can make sitting in this position more tempting. Some people have been working from their sofa for the past two years, so they’ve developed substantial upper and lower back pain.
Looking down at your phone.
Looking down at your book, tablet, or phone can cause upper back and neck pain. Staying in this position can make the muscles and spine of your upper back work extra hard to prevent the head from going further in front. It would be best if you sat in a position where your ears sit center to your shoulders.
Sitting in chairs with no support.
Sitting in chairs with poor support for too long can significantly contribute to back pain. It would be best to invest in an ergonomic office chair. While in your chair, you should sit with your core in a neutral position, lumbar support, good wrist support for your mouse and keyboard, a footrest, purchase a convertible standing/sitting desk, and keep your screens at eye level.
Not taking short standing breaks.
Your Apple Watch reminds you to move every hour for a reason; these short breaks can help your back. The average desk worker spends hours on a keyboard, causing increasing exhaustion in their spinal support muscles.
Walking without arch support.
How you walk can impact how your back feels. If you’re a foot-slapping walker, that may cause back pain. Our feet are supposed to move in a curvilinear form, arching from our heel to our toes. This method uses the foot’s intrinsic muscles to take every step. If you’re flat-footed and slap your feet when you walk or walk with no arch support, your foot collapses, and the chain of energy ends in your back, causing lower back pain.
Not walking enough.
Our spines are meant for moving. Between our sleeping time and our time at work in a seated position, it’s no wonder our spines are throbbing in pain. Numerous people spend hours not moving around. It would be best to try working out and walking to alleviate this issue. Even as simple as walking, exercise nurtures the spine and strengthens the surrounding muscles. If you’re sedentary and suffer back stiffness and pain, you should try walking for 30 minutes daily. This exercise is an easy way to build up your strength and protect your back.
Neglecting to stretch.
If your back has felt sore or tight after a workout, stretching can help. Daily stretching is a great way to stop back spasms and pain. You don’t have to do yoga, but you should attempt to stretch your neck, arms, and legs daily.
Not engaging your core.
A strong core is essential for ideal back health. It will help if you incorporate more core work in your everyday fitness routine, like bicycles, dead bugs, and forearm planks. Strengthening your core muscles is vital to reducing overall back pain. Engaging your core can help stop back pain by relieving stress from the facet joints and discs. You should also ensure that you use the proper body mechanics and form to avoid more pressure on the spine. It would help to use your leg muscles when you bend forward, for example, doing a lunge or squat to pick something up off the ground.
Using the wrong pillow.
It would help if you found the proper pillow that offers back support while sleeping. The right pillow keeps your neck parallel to the mattress and adapts to your sleep position. For example, cervical contour pillows are effective because they elevate your neck more while sleeping on your side and less on your back. If your mattress is firmer, use a thick pillow because there’s less cushion for your shoulder to melt into, so there’s more space between your head and bed. If your mattress is memory foam, use a thinner pillow to offset your shoulder sinking into the mattress.
Back pain is a common issue that most Americans deal with daily. However, most people probably don’t know that there are everyday habits that contribute to their back pain. If you notice any of these habits, try your best to stop them before your back pain worsens. It may also help to consult with your doctor for their opinion and ideas on moving forward.