Small Habits Can Add Up To Big Pain
Nearly 80% of Americans suffer from back pain at some point in a lifetime. For some people, pain happens immediately after an injury or bending the wrong way. For others, back pain creeps up over time, after a series of bad habits leads to chronic discomfort. Consider these 4 daily habits that can increase back pain over time.
1. Hunching at your desk
With many people sitting at a computer all day long, the opportunity for back pain is higher than ever. Set up a work station where the computer screen is at eye level, and the elbows can rest in a 90-degree position. Avoid slumping forward and rounding the shoulders. Additionally, try to practice the same proper posture while sitting as while standing. Keep the feet flat on the floor with the legs at a 90-degree angle. Choose a chair that supports the lower back all day long.
2. Sleeping on your back
People who sleep on the back may put undue pressure on the spine. Instead, try sleeping on the side and use a firm pillow for proper neck support and alignment. If sleeping on the back is a must, use a pillow underneath the knees to slightly elevate the legs and relieve pressure on the spine. People who do this can cut spinal stress in half.
3. Wearing the wrong shoes
Shoes that are too tight, narrow, or high-heeled will add up to a backache after a while. Comfortable, well-fitting shoes will reduce the strain on the back when a person is standing. Choosing the right shoes is especially important for people who spend long hours on their feet, such as nurses or construction workers. Opt for shoes that have less than a one-inch heel and have arch support.
4. Lighting up a cigarette
Smoking is an incredibly harmful health habit for the lungs, heart, and all other organs. People who smoke are much more likely to experience back pain than non-smokers. Nicotine restricts blood flow and reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood. Over time, this can lead to cracked or herniated discs in the spine, which are among the most common reasons for chronic back pain.
What can I do?
One of the best things a person can do for back pain is to stretch every day. For people at desk jobs, make sure to get up and stretch at least once an hour. Many people experience significant benefits from stretching for 10-15 minutes every night before bed or every morning after getting up. Additionally, eating a nutritious diet and exercising regularly can decrease the risk of chronic pain. For more information about managing back pain, speak with a healthcare provider.