Back pain sends most patients to doctors worldwide than any other health condition. In fact, it is the third most common cause of surgery. The causes can be many and back pain isn’t one single catastrophic event but rather a result of many situations and everyday habits. Some seemingly insignificant habits can play the party pooper in your overall wellbeing and happiness, if you don’t pay heed.
Glued to your desk? Sitting puts 40% more pressure on your spine than standing. We naturally don’t pay attention to our posture all the time when working on a tight deadline or managing multiple projects at work. Skipping stretching and taking out the time to take brief strolls may cause your back to suffer. Back muscles tend to weaken if not used well and even the joints tend to lose lubrication, aging quickly.Your lower back should be supported when you sit, and your head should be straight. Once every hour, take a water break, grab a snack, walk up to your colleague to talk instead of sending a message.
The long and short of it: A long commute is almost as detrimental for your spine health as hunching over a desk. Hunching over a steering wheel can cause your shoulders to bend and tighten your chest muscles. Try sitting at a 90-degree angle, close to the wheel, so you don’t need to stretch. Extending your legs may seem relaxing but may harm your back.
Falling back when back pain strikes: Most of us, in fact 40% of us, become less active and let our exercise routine take a backseat when back pain strikes. This delays healing and makes the back condition worse. Light exercise and even frequent walks would help bring your back in shape. For instant relief, you could try stretching your hamstrings and hips.
Eat like you mean it: As per research, eating habits that are good for your heart, weight and blood sugar are also good for your spine health. Healthy blood circulation helps nutrients reach the spine and if your circulation is faulty, inflammation can trigger nerves to send pain signals to the brain. Opt for whole grains, buts, soy, seeds, and proteins, over refined flour, caffeine and deep-fried dishes.
Don’t drag your bag: You, like many others, may be guilty of stuffing your bag to the brim and carrying the weight along irrespective of where you go. A heavy bag causes your shoulders to become imbalanced and throws your spine off-kilter. This is one of the most common yet ignored habit that can cause a lot of permanent aches and pains. The American Chiropractic Association recommends that your bag should ideally weigh no more than 10 percent of your body weight. Else, if your work or lifestyle requires you to keep a lot of things at hand, try splitting the weight across two bags.
Mattress matters: Do you remember the last time you replaced your mattress? If you can’t, your back may be in trouble. A very good mattress lasts a maximum of 10 years, but replacing yours after 5 to 6 years is recommended if you don’t feel as comfortable as you used to. When selecting a new mattress, pick one that’s not to soft or too hard.
Let your heels heal: …from the constant torture of high heels or uncomfortable footwear such as flip-flops, as both lead to foot instability, in turn affecting your back. While high heels force you to arch your back making your back muscles work harder, footwear without much support cause your feet to move from side-to-side, distributing your body weight unevenly, causing back pain. You don’t need to completely stack away these trendy shoes or footwear, but only ensure you use them occasionally or for shorter distances – if walking.