Ask Away Blog: 10 Ways You Could Be Damaging Your Back

10 Ways You Could Be Damaging Your Back

Tuesday, February 25, 2020


It’s estimated that up to 80% of us experience back pain in our lives. There are many causes of back pain – in some cases, it could be a natural symptom of aging, while injuries from falls and trauma can also be a common cause. In other cases, habits and activities may cause gradual damage to our back. It’s these habits and activities that are often the hidden causes of back pain. To help you look after your back, here are just a few things that you may want to avoid.




Sitting down all day

A sedentary lifestyle is a common way in which many of us damage our backs. A lack of physical activity can cause many of us to gain weight, which can put pressure on the spine. Poor posture can be particularly harmful when sitting for long periods – if you’re constantly craned over a desk or seated too far forward while driving, the discs in the spine may start to compress, leading to degeneration of the spine and chronic pain.

Trying to be more active throughout the day could help to prevent back pain as a result of weight gain. Meanwhile, adopting a good posture while sitting could help to stop compression of the discs – this could involve taking the time to adjust your chair at work or while driving so that you’re not leaning forward.

Standing up all day

For people that are constantly on their feet, it could also be bad news. If you spend too much time stood up or walking, you could be putting pressure on your lower spine, causing muscles to tighten and spasm.

If your job doesn’t allow you to sit down, try taking some of the pressure off by leaning against objects when you can. A comfortable pair of shoes can also reduce the pressure on your spine.

Sleeping on an uncomfortable mattress

You could also be damaging your back by sleeping on an uncomfortable mattress. Mattresses tend to become less comfortable with age – in fact, it’s recommended that you get rid of any mattress that is over 8 years old. If you already deal with back pain, you could find that a soft mattress also makes the pain worse – a firm mattress may be better suited to offering the support that you need.

You can research into different firm mattresses at sites like mattress-review.org. It could also be worth going down to your local mattress shop and trying out mattresses for yourself.

Sleeping on your front

If you sleep on your front, you could also be at risk of developing back issues. The healthiest way to sleep is on your back as this allows the spine to rest in a neutral position.

Changing one’s sleeping position isn’t easy – some people find it impossible to sleep on their back. If this is the case, placing a pillow under your hips while sleeping on your front could be the next best way to protect your spine. Side-sleepers should meanwhile place a pillow under their knees (yes, unfortunately sleeping on your side isn’t healthy either, although it is much healthier than sleeping on your front).

Wearing heels regularly

Wearing high heels isn’t good for our back either. In fact, it can put pressure on our lower back, our hips, our knees and our ankles – leading to a multitude of possible joint problems.

Switching to flats and wearing heels only occasionally could make a big impact. You most definitely shouldn’t be wearing heels every day, as this could cause serious harm.

Running without running shoes

If you regularly go running, make sure that you’re running in a good pair of shoes. Normal sneakers won’t offer the support you need. This could lead to ankle and knee injuries, as well as pressure on the lower spine.

Acquiring a pair of high-quality running shoes needn’t cost you a huge amount. This guide at runnersworld.com offers an example of several running shoes on the market that are high quality and affordable.

Carrying a heavy bag solely on one shoulder

You can also cause damage to your back by continuously wearing a heavy bag on one shoulder. The asymmetric load can throw your muscles off balance and spine often has to compensate, which can lead to straining and spasms.

Rather than always carrying a bag on the same shoulder, make a conscious effort to switch shoulders every time you carry your bag. Another solution could be to switch to a backpack, so that the weight is distributed evenly between two shoulders.

Lifting heavy objects incorrectly

A common way in which people can damage their back is by lifting heavy objects incorrectly. Many people bend at the waist – however this can put severe strain on your spine, resulting in your back having to support both your upper body and the heavy object that you’re lifting.

You’re much better off keeping your back straight and bending at the knees when you lift heavy objects. Such form is taught by personal trainers when doing a deadlift as well as many employers when lifting heavy objects such as boxes.

Smoking

Numerous studies have found a link between smoking and back pain. It’s thought that this is because smoking damages arteries in the discs. Smoking also increases the risk of bone-thinning diseases such as osteoporosis.

Giving up smoking could help to reduce the risk of back problems, while also reducing your risk of numerous other health problems caused by smoking.

Eating the wrong foods

You could also be damaging you back by eating the wrong foods. An unhealthy diet can cause weight gain, which can lead to back pain. Certain foods such as sugary snacks, refined grains and red meat can meanwhile aggravate existing back pain.

Foods such as kale, broccoli and spinach are all good for the back and could help to reduce inflammation for those that currently suffer with back pain.



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1 comment:

  1. Running without shoes can damage your back??? Oh wow, I never knew. I've had back pain before and it ain't pretty! Thanks for sharing.

    Madeline
    madelinewilsonojo.com

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