The odds are you’ll suffer from back pain at some point in your life. Being big proponents of prevention rather than treatment, we decided to take a looks at the common causes of back pain and what you can do to mitigate them.
Sitting Too Much Can Cause Back Pain.
If you have a desk job, chances are you have slumped shoulders from years of bad posture. Try this. Lie on the floor. Now, notice how your arms are positioned. If your default position is palms down, chances are your shoulders are rolled forward. While you can’t be expected to go out and find a new career, the good news is you can do something about shoulders that roll forward. Exercises can actually reverse the results of sitting for years and years. Try pilates or yoga, which will help you to “open up” your chest and strengthen your back. Or make an appointment with a physical therapist who can target exercises to your specific issues. Massage can also be an important part of a program to correct your posture as it can help work out the kinks of the muscles you’ve been overworking.
Not Enough Exercise.
This is directly tied to number one, meaning that if you get more exercise, your posture might improve, as well as your general health, sense of well-being, and quite possibly your confidence. It may even save you money. Exercise is key to reducing aches and pains, there’s no way around it. Instead of going into the reasons why (because most of us already know), here’s some advice to get you into the habit of exercise. According to a NY Times article, reframing exercise as something that makes you feel good, rather than a chore to be checked off the list, makes it more likely you’ll actually get out there. Also, studies show that music might improve the quality of your workouts.
Poor Diet and Weight Gain.
The more weight you carry around, the more of a burden you’re putting on your back. And if you have poor posture and you don’t exercise, the burden is compounded. Changing your eating habits overnight is difficult, but change is possible. There’s a ton of advice out there on diet, so I’m just going to mention the stuff that’s worked for me. Consider committing to healthy dinner a few nights a week. A weekly meal-in-a-box service might be a good way to do this. If you snack in the afternoon try something like carrot sticks or apple slices with a smear of almond butter. And definitely drink more water. Seriously, so important. Are you an evening snacker? Try herbal tea instead.
Some shoes, like high heels, are obviously bad for feet. However, some shoes that appear to be sensible might also be problematic. We all have different feet, so the shoes that are best for you might not be best for someone else. Try with differing heel heights, soft soles, etc. Also, when your soles are worn, replace the shoes.
While it’s not cheap to replace a mattress, sleeping on a good mattress can have a profound impact on the quality of your waking hours. Generally medium firm mattresses, with uniform support are the best. Test some out at your local mattress store. While they can be a significant investment, good quality mattresses often come with great warranty periods, so you know they’ll last a long time. Consider a memory foam mattress, which is a favorite of many people who have back or joint pain.
So this list can go on, but these are five very common causes of back pain. In addition to acting on these items, also consider getting a monthly or bi-weekly massage if you’re experiencing back pain. Studies suggest it really does help.