The onset of back pain can cause you major discomfort and even prevent you from participating in activities that you love. There are several ways to injure your back, but I want to discuss common habits that trigger back pain. If you’re aware of the risk factors then you will have a better chance at preventing or limiting back injuries in the future.
#1 Marathon Sitter:
Whether it’s on your daily commute to work, the desk job you’ve had for a decade or your obsession with watching Netflix, sitting for extended periods of time can cause havoc on your back. This is because the discs that cushion your spine need a study blood supply. When you sit still, you deprive these discs of its nutrition. Motion helps circulate the fluid through your discs.
When sitting, try using these tips to reduce the pressure on your back:
• Maintain Healthy Posture: Do not lean or slouch when sitting and keep reading material at eye level to encourage straight posture.
• Make an Effort to Move: Doctors recommend moving every 20 minutes. Although this may not be possible while driving, if you work at a desk all day or sit on the couch for long periods, set a reminder to get up and move. On long driving trips make regular stops to stretch and move around.
• Support the Back: This means choosing a chair that supports your back or getting a back support to use with your chair. If you are looking for a homemade solution, try placing a rolled towel or small pillow behind your lower back.
#2 Weekend Warrior:
You probably already know what I’m going to say. Often on weekends, we participate in outdoor activities or try to “fix” items on our to-do list around the house that can cause stress on our bodies. Especially if you are a “marathon sitter” who turns around on the weekend and tries to be a “weekend warrior.” Even taking out a heavy load of trash can cause a back injury. You get what I’m saying, right?
If you’re planning on participating in a pick-up game of basketball or try to fix the roof leak yourself this weekend, protect your back by:
• Strengthen Core Muscles: Work on small core workouts throughout the week to build strength. You can even use an exercise ball while sitting to build up your Ab muscles.
• Stretch Those Muscles: Make sure to stretch your muscles whether you’re on a regular exercising routine (you should be) or not. Stagnant muscle movement can also cause you to be more susceptible to injury.
• Engage Core Muscles: Make a habit of engaging your core muscles in daily activity. You can do this by “sucking in” or pulling your abs inward multiple times during your day.
#3 Bad Technique:
You may be an avid exerciser or someone who always tries the latest workout fad, but you aren’t familiar with proper technique. Believe it or not, this is more common than you might think. Here are some proper lifting techniques:
• Weight: Do not move, carry or lift something that is 20% of your body weight.
• Form: When lifting something, try to keep the item below your armpit and above your knees. Also make sure to lift with your knees and keep your spine straight. Try not to make sharp turns or twisting motions while carrying a heavy item.
When to see a Physician:
• Always consult your physician if your back pain persists over 48 hours or reoccurs often. This could be an indication of a more serious condition.
• When your back pain is accompanied by other conditions, such as a change in body function, abdominal pain, numbness, tingling, swelling, fever, or headache.
• Back pain that is a result of a trauma, like a hard fall, sports injury or car accident.
• A Back Brace can be used short-term to help support the muscle weakness in the back and provide controlled motion to help limit pain during recovery.
• Icing the affected area can help reduce pain and swelling in the short-term.
• Bed rest can be used for acute back pain to help minimize motion and tasks that can agitate the injury.
American Academy of Family Physicians: