If you are a part of the 80% of Americans who experience or have experienced back pain, one of the first things you can do to treat or prevent it is to understand what's causing it. Sometimes the source of back pain is easy to identify and comes from a one-time mistake: you lifted a box that was too heavy, or you had a bad fall. Other times, the culprit is more difficult to determine; sometimes, the cause of back pain is something you've been doing for years without a noticeable problem. Listed below are three ways that you might be contributing to or causing your back pain, along with suggestions for correcting the problem.
1. You Don't Move Enough
Sitting at a desk for long hours or sitting in your car during a long commute puts excess pressure on your spine and negatively affects your posture. When working, get up and move as much as possible, even if that just means taking calls standing up or personally delivering messages instead of emailing them. Since you can't stand up while driving, aim to sit at a 90 degree angle to prevent excessive slouching and stress on your back. If you're hurting, it might seem counter-productive to go to the gym. However, exercise can help ease joint stiffness and will strengthen the muscles used to hold your body up straight, making poor posture less of a problem.
2. You Hit the Hay the Wrong Way
Sleeping on your stomach is one of the most harmful ways to sleep, as it causes your spine to curve excessively. Try to sleep on your back or side, or use a pillow under your hips to support them and keep your spine from curving. If you don't sleep on your stomach, an old, uncomfortable mattress or pillows can also be the culprit of back pain. Investing in a firm, but comfortable mattress will do wonders for your back problems and save you a lot of money in doctor's bills.
3. You're a Smoker
In addition to all the other parts of your body that smoking cigarettes damages, it has also been shown to worsen back problems. Because smoking cuts off blood flow to the spinal disks, smokers are more likely to experience back pain. Enlist your friends and family to help you quit smoking, and you'll likely start seeing improvements in your back pain, as well as your overall health.
If you're guilty of any of the three activities lifted above, they might be contributing to your back pain. Give the treatment suggestions a try, and you'll start moving and feeling better soon! (click here for more info).