Is Your Lifestyle Causing Back Pain?

Is Your Lifestyle Causing Back Pain?

When you hear things like — four out of every five people in the United States will have back pain at some point in their life — it kind of makes you feel like back pain is inevitable. And, yes, there are many factors that cause back pain which are completely out of your control. But, what if it’s your lifestyle that’s causing your back pain?

At Healthcare Pain Centers LLC, Dr. Francisco del Valle and our team of pain specialists help many people struggling with back pain get relief using a wide range of treatments. We see the toll this type of pain takes on our patients’ physical and emotional well-being. 

Here, we want to talk about some of the lifestyle habits that contribute to back pain and what you can do to change those habits. 

Living a sedentary lifestyle

You spend long hours sitting at your desk at work and when you get home all you want to do is relax on the couch. But this sedentary lifestyle of sitting and relaxing isn’t good for your back — it’s actually a cause of recurring back pain. 

Your inactivity affects muscle strength and endurance, decreases blood circulation, and weakens your bones.

Finding ways to add more activity to your daily routine may prevent back pain, or at least stop it from becoming a recurring problem. Take active breaks during your workday, like getting up and stretching or going for a 10 minute walk. Keep active at home by gardening, taking a walk around the neighborhood, or doing yoga stretches when watching TV.

Poor posture

Your posture refers to how you sit and stand. Good posture means keeping your spine in a neutral position, or making sure it maintains its natural curvature. This means your head above your shoulders and your shoulders above your hips. A neutral spine evenly distributes your body weight, reducing stress on your joints, muscles, and ligaments.

Slouching, slumping, and bending your head forward affects the neutral alignment of your spine, causing stress and strain that leads to back and neck pain

To avoid this, you should stand up straight with your shoulders back, holding your head up. At your desk, adjust your computer, desk, and chair so your eyes are looking forward and your arms relax on the armrest. 

Lifting with your back

Many acute back injuries occur because of poor lifting habits. For example, when you bend at your waist and use your back muscles or when picking up a bag of groceries instead of using your leg muscles. Your back is strong and supports the weight of your upper body, but lifting with your back leads to injuries and back pain. 

To protect your back, bend at your knees, move the bag of groceries close to your body, and lift with your legs while keeping your back straight. 

Smoking

It’s no secret that smoking is bad for your health. But this unhealthy habit affects more than your lungs and heart. Smoking affects circulation to your spine, limiting the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the intervertebral discs that separate the bones making up your spine. Without enough oxygen and nutrients, these discs degenerate faster. Disc degeneration leads to herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, and arthritis. 

Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health. 

Making a few adjustments to your lifestyle can ease your back pain and potentially prevent more problems. Let us help you take control of your back pain. Call our office in Old Bridge, Edison, or Freehold, New Jersey, or request an appointment online today. 

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