As we get older, it seems like we develop more and more aches and pains. Many of us would be hard pressed to remember having a really bad back ache as a child or teen, but aging certainly takes a toll on our bodies. But what you might find surprising, is that there are many simple little lifestyle choices and habits that we can change to reduce or entirely alleviate what we might consider age-related back pain.
Following are the top ten causes of back pain that may surprise you!
1. Weight and Diet
One of the best things you can do for your entire body, not just your back, is to maintain a healthy weight, and eat a well-balanced nutritious diet. The benefits of healthy weight are many. Being overweight can put tremendous strain on your back and joints. And eating a proper diet that includes fresh veggies, fruits, whole grains and protein with a little bit of healthy fat can help maintain the health of the bones and muscles that make up your back.
2. Sedentary Lifestyle
Being lazy can have so many negative consequences. Not only are lazy people somewhat boring to hang out with, they usually suffer from some type of health issue that could include back pain. A lack of proper exercise can lead your back to seize up. Thing of your body like a car – it needs to move to keep all of the different parts of the engine in prime working condition, and in order to move, it requires high quality fool. Your body is no different.
3. Posture Posture Posture!
As in other articles, posture is a leading cause of pain. If you have bad posture, spend a lot of your time hunched over a desk or a computer or a gaming console, you are only hurting yourself! Even a slight postural problem, perhaps with the way you hold your wrists, can radiate out to your neck and back, and create a vicious circle. Posture can be slowly improved over time, and the benefits will far outweigh any mild discomfort you might feel initially when trying to sit up straight.
4. Improper Ergonomics at Work
If you are someone who has a desk job, chances are, if you suffer from pack pain, your work station could be to blame. Many folks aren’t aware of how important proper ergonomics are. This includes having a sturdy desk chair that provides proper lumbar support to your lower back, a work surface or keyboard and mouse tray that is positioned to allow you to work your shoulders back and wrists fluid, and a computer monitor that is positioned so that you are not looking downward at it, but rather, it is eye-level.
5. Heavy Lifting or Reaching
If you work in a profession that requires a lot of heavy lifting or reaching, you are at a much higher risk of developing back pain. Be sure to wear proper protective clothing and gear, and if necessary, a brace that will provide added support to your back and neck while you work.
While we equate participating in sports as a healthy activity, back pain is a very real possibility. Some sports require the use of special protective uniforms such as helmets and mouth guards. Protecting your back is just as important as your teeth! So if you play sports, especially contact sports like football, ensure that you have the proper equipment including padding to protect your back. Otherwise, your sports life will be short lived!
7. Weak or Underdeveloped Core
Having weak or underdeveloped core muscles can lead to lots of problems including back pain. The body’s core is where all of our strength comes from, the strength that helps us to move the rest of our bodies. If you are a little bit over weight, don’t exercise much, then you most likely have a weak core. The best way to improve this is to practice things like yoga, sit-ups, crunches and stretching to help strength the muscles. The result will be that your entire body works better, and you’ll see a reduction in your back pain.
8. Other Health Conditions
If you have other health conditions, such as degenerative joint disorders, it can put a strain on your back. In this situation, your back muscles are most likely having to over compensate to make up for the lack of strength or movement of the affected joints. So be sure to treat your other health conditions appropriately to reduce your risk of developing the secondary condition of back pain.
9. Ignoring Pain
Many people feel that the ability to handle pain on their own, without the intervention of pain relief, makes them a stronger person. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Ignoring your pain not only will wear you out in the long run, but it can lead to even bigger problems, because they are left untreated. Always seek appropriate medical care for your pain issues so that they don’t become worse.
Last but certainly not least, if you are pregnant, your back is taking on SO much more work than it is used to. The weight of a pregnancy can cause posture issues which can lead to neck and back pain if not corrected. Be sure to get lots of rest during your pregnancy, and practice mild stretches and exercises to keep your back strong, but don’t overdo it!
There you have it. Some of the most common habits and lifestyle choices we make every day can lead to back pain. Knowledge is power, and in this case, good medicine! Always take into consideration your entire body when doing anything physical. You may not be aware of it initially, but if you have any of these habits or lifestyle choices, you may be on your way to back pain if you don’t take the necessary precautions. Proper equipment, proper posture, a healthy lifestyle in general – these are the main ingredients for a healthy back and body.