According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), back pain is so common it affects 80% of people at some point in their lives. It is often the result of poor habits that exert stress on the muscles and joints. If you often suffer from back pain and would like to keep your back healthy and pain free, knowing what habits to avoid can save you from many instances of pain.
Poor posture: can strain the muscles that support your back and exert stress on your spine. Over a long period, it can even change the structure of your spine. While sitting, it is recommended that you keep your back straight and your knees slightly below the level of your hips. Prolonged standing may raise your risk for long-term low back pain. Placing one foot in front of the other with your knees slightly bent can help reduce the strain on your back.
Being overweight: or obese adds additional strain on the back muscles. Excessive fat around the middle can shift your center of gravity so your back works harder to keep you balanced. Keeping your weight within 10 pounds of your ideal weight can help you avoid weight-related back pain.
Improper lifting technique: Lifting a heavy load the wrong way is often the reason for acute back pain. When lifting objects make sure your back is straight and your knees bent. Remember to let your legs do the lifting and not your back.
Lack of exercise: Muscles that support your spine such as the abdominal and back muscles need exercise to help you maintain proper posture and protect against injury. Stretching, strengthening and cardiovascular exercises are recommended to strengthen the key muscle groups. A strong and flexible back will reduce your risk of injury. Stay active to improve your tolerance to back pain and stress. Consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise program, especially if you already have a back problem.
Smoking: reduces blood supply to the cushioning disks between your vertebrae causing them to degenerate faster. It also affects bones by reducing calcium absorption and preventing new bone formation. As a result, they become weaker, are more prone to injury and take longer to heal. Though back pain is common, adhering to these measures can keep your back well protected against injury. If back pain is affecting your daily routine, it is important to have it evaluated. The American Spine Center has a team of skilled doctors and therapists highly adept at diagnosing and managing back pain and other orthopedic pain conditions. The American Spine Center offers advanced non-surgical treatments that help provide relief for most cases of back pain to help you return to an active lifestyle.