Back pain is one of the most common health issues today. If you work out, do heavy lifting, sit in a chair for long periods of time day in and day out, chances are that you’ll suffer from back pain sooner or later. Any activity that could incur a shock, sprain, stress or injury to your back muscles and spine may lead to back pain of varying degrees.
In most cases, a little back pain is nothing to worry about; which is exactly what we do. We feel a slight inconvenience in our back, and where we should be resting, so our spine can recover from the sprain that’s caused the ache, we go about our business paying no heed to it. This puts more pressure on the back, making the injury worse, so much that it could make it difficult for you to move around, or even get off your bed.
What causes back pain?
Causes differ from individual to individual and because it isn’t an injury that reveals physical symptoms, it is incredibly difficult to narrow down. It could be anything, from being in an accident to maintaining a posture for too long. Ever exercising, being a generally healthy activity for your body, can cause back pains if done incorrectly with poor form.
Sitting at computer for too long
Teenagers could sit in front of the computer screen for hours and not feel a thing. You, on the other hand, could feel your back aching after an eight-hour work shift at your desk. Sitting for long hours maintains pressure on your spinal cord, which can stress the muscles around it. Taking short breaks to walk around will considerably reduce risk of back pains. If your work demands staying at the computer for hours, look up the correct adjustments to make to your desk and sitting patterns to minimize health risk.
Improper focus on body muscles when exercising
When working out, you have to give attention to all parts of your body equally, and especially to core muscles like the pelvic, sides, back, and buttocks that provide support to your body. Give preferences to core exercise like planks, squats, and lunges that rejuvenate and tone several supporting muscles at the same time, rather than exercises that focus on one particular muscle.
Lying and sleeping on your stomach
A very common habit, and very unhealthy. When laying on your back or sides, your supporting muscles do what they’re designed for and provide support to the back, keeping it stretched. Lying down on your stomach puts undue pressure on your chest, stomach and other muscles, reaching out to your spinal cord. If you can’t fall asleep any other way, putting a slim cushion underneath your hips will help take the stress off muscles and spinal disks.
The quality of your mattress is important as well. Too hard or too soft mattresses will negatively affect your spine and posture. A medium mattress is an ideal option to go for.
When they say smoking kills, they’re not wrong. It will negatively affect you in a lot of other ways, some less obvious, before it eventually does that. Researches have revealed that the probability of persistent back troubles in smokers is higher than in non-smokers. This is because nicotine inhibits the flow of blood, restricting it from reaching the spinal cord and disks, and diminishes its calcium absorption ability, resulting in back and bone problems.
Depression or mental stress
It has been established through studies that physical stress can affect mental health. More recent studies have revealed that the opposite is also possible. A depressed mental state releases stress hormones that stiffen the muscles. This is why people suffering from acute depression are more likely to witness physical symptoms like weakened immune system and back pains. Alternative remedies like meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises help relieve mental stress and lessen the intensity of physical symptoms.
Improper clothing style & fashion accessories
Although still widely worn, it is general knowledge that high-heeled shoes can bring physical stress as the weight of the entire body is supported by a few toes. More recent studies have revealed that wearing flat shoes and sandals for long periods of time can have adverse effects on your muscles too, due to the absence of a proper arch support. An ideal shoe shouldn’t be loose on your feet and should provide good support for your heel. This doesn’t mean you can’t wear trendy shoes. Just alternate your shoe styles during the week to ensure your foot doesn’t maintain one posture day after day.
Carrying heavy purses and bags, especially those that can only be hung on one shoulder, put disproportionate stress on one part of your body, cramping the muscles and affecting the spinal cord. Carrying a bag with the strap around your chest will even the balance and cause your muscles less stress.
If you don’t suffer from chronic back pain but have a back ache for some reason, we’ve outlined some basic remedies below.
Laying down will help, but not if you lay down for more than a few hours. Carry out light activity to regulate blood flow.
Take some medicine
Sometimes, the easiest cure is the fastest one. Take pain relief medicine like ibuprofen when the pain begins. Don’t leave it till it’s worse before you consider medicine.
If you’ve suffered muscular injury, put the affected area under cold running water or apply some ice. This will prevent swelling and reduce pain. Apply heat to the affected area after a day or two to enhance blood flow.
Be careful with heavy lifting
Health and safety should be a priority. Look up how to lift heavy objects the correct way, and the maximum weights your body can handle. Ensure firm footing, keep you back straight, and bend down at the knees to ensure minimal impact when lifting heavy objects.
Where acute pain will vanish in a matter of days and is no reason to be alarmed, if you suffer from chronic back pains, see a doctor immediately. They will be able to diagnose your condition better and refer you to a specialist.