We all know that lifting heavy objects and things of that nature can lead to lower back pain issues, but what about your daily habits? Are there any activities that you perform during a typical day that could be causing your lower back pain?
In this article, we’re going to discuss a few things most of us do on a daily basis, or at least a weekly basis, that may lead to back pain (and we don’t even realize it).
Have you ever had a sore lower back after driving for a long distance? If you’ve got a long commute or have a job that requires you to spend an hour or more each day in your vehicle, then your lower back pain could be caused by your posture while driving.
In order to alleviate the stress on your lower back while driving, you need to ensure that you sit up straight, with your back completely against the back of your seat. Oftentimes, drivers will sit in the middle of the seat, which fails to support the lower back, leading to back issues.
You may also want to consider purchasing a driving pillow (there are several companies that make them) that is designed to support your lower back during those long com-mutes.
In addition, many vehicles now come with features designed to help individuals suffering from lower back pain, including seats with side bolstering, heating and ventilation, and more.
It’s not uncommon for poor sleep positions to result in lower back pain, especially for stomach sleepers. We find that many of our patients who sleep on their stomachs expe-rience back pain that is at least partially caused by poor positioning of the spine during sleep.
In order to fix the problem, we encourage our patients to either sleep on their back (per-haps with a pillow under their knees), or if the only way they can sleep is on their stom-ach, at least put a pillow underneath the lower abdominal area to allow the spine to maintain its natural curve while sleeping.
If you experience lower back stiffness in the mornings, it may be caused by a poor sleep position, so consider altering your sleep position and monitor your results.
3 Brushing your teeth & shaving
You may chuckle reading this, but there are actually two very real scenarios where you can hurt your lower back while standing over your sink while brushing your teeth or shaving.
For starters, when many people brush their teeth, they are significantly bent over the sink (especially for individuals who are taller). If you maintain this position for 2-3 minutes while brushing, it can lead to problems.
Secondly, most men shave every day or at least a few times per week. When shaving, we often try to get as close to the mirror as we can in order to ensure we don’t miss a stray hair or two.
This can lead to 10 minutes or more of bending our backs forward at a 30 degree angle, putting undo stress on the lower back region.
4 Going for a walk
Walking is good for you and is normally better for back pain than just sitting and resting. However, it’s important that you walk correctly, using the right pace, technique, and on proper terrain.
If you’re experiencing lower back pain, it’s probably a bad idea to go on a demanding hike through the woods. Instead, get a comfortable pair of running shoes with plenty of padding and walk on the sidewalk in your neighborhood or on easy-to-navigate trails.
Walking is a great habit, but just make sure you don’t overdo it.
5 Playing non-contact sports (golf, tennis, etc.)
Even though golf and tennis are not contact sports, they can still cause a significant amount of injury to the lower back area.
For instance, most golfers coil their upper body, while trying to remain relatively quiet with the lower body. This creates tension between the upper and lower body, especially on the trail side (the right side for right-handed golfers, and left side for left-handed players). As such, muscle strain and injuries to the SI joint are common.
The same thing happens in tennis when you are winding up to serve or when you deliv-er a powerful backhand— you unconsciously load power using the muscles in your low-er back, hips, and legs.
It’s quite easy to tweak your back, and it’s no wonder that most great tennis players start to see their skills diminish around the age of 30; it’s a physically demanding sport.
6 Playing with your kids, grandkids, or even the dog
Few things in life rival the joy experienced when playing with your kids, grandkids, or even your furry friend who’s also a member of the family. In fact, we often get caught up in doing what they want to do, and our bodies suffer as a result.
If you’re experiencing back pain after physical activities with your friends and family, it may be time to see a pain management doctor at Prospira Pain Care. You don’t want to let lower back pain keep you from enjoying those precious moments.
7 Sitting at your desk all day
In our modern society, we sit at our desks much more often than we should. In fact, many patients who come to see us believe that sitting at their desks all day (for 40 hours or more a week) is contributing to their back pain.
It’s a fact— we live a more sedentary lifestyle now than during any era of history, and we have the back problems to prove it.
One thing the CDC has suggested is to use a standing desk in order to help alleviate chronic pain. These types of desks are designed to help you, not only alleviate back pain at work, but also become more productive.
If you can squash your back pain and get more work done in the process, it might be worth trying. If you think that your sitting habits may be linked to your back pain, Prospi-ra Pain Care offers a wide variety of minimally invasive, integrated therapies that focus on treating pain without using habit-forming medications.
So don’t just “sit” and keep on hurting. Stand up and call us!
It’s obviously a well known fact that smoking is a very unhealthy habit, but did you know that it can actually contribute to your lower back problems?
While it’s long been suspected that a link between smoking and lower back pain exists, a study published in 2001 shed some light on the issue. Researchers found that risk fac-tors for atherosclerosis (smoking history and hypertension) were associated with lower back pain and lumbar spondylosis.
The bottom line is that smoking doesn’t only have a negative effect on your heart and lungs; it can also be a contributing factor for patients who are suffering from lower back pain.
While quitting smoking certainly isn’t easy, we strongly recommend that you seek pro-fessional treatment to help you overcome your smoking habits.
9 Cleaning and laundry
Think about all of the lifting you do when you clean and do laundry. Shocking, isn’t it? Putting clothes in the washer, taking heavy, wet clothes out of the washer, putting tow-els on high shelves (not to mention the bending required when vacuuming, mopping, and doing other household chores.)— it all adds up to a significant amount of stress and strain on your lower back.
Most people don’t think about it, but these seemingly harmless activities can lead to lower back pain and actually decrease your quality of life.
While you must keep a clean house, if these kinds of chores are causing significant back pain, you want to ask your spouse or significant other to help out more, or even consider hiring a cleaning service to handle the most demanding work required around the house.
10 Mowing the lawn
If you’re using a riding lawn mower, this isn’t such an issue (although you can have the same issues with a riding lawn mower as you do driving a car). However, mowing your lawn with a push power can lead to back problems due to the hunched over posture re-quired to push the mower forward and pull it back.
Again, if mowing the lawn is worsening your back troubles, consider hiring a lawn care service, or if possible, let one of your kids or neighbors handle it.
Keeping a nice and tidy yard is important, but there are other options besides pushing a mower for an hour or more and hurting your back in the process.
11 Pushing a stroller
Listen up moms, dads, and grandparents: pushing a stroller can actually lead to back pain. Think about it— when pushing your young child in a stroller, you assume a posture that is bent slightly forward of center, which can alter the natural curvature of the spine.
It’s actually a similar motion to mowing the lawn, and can lead to excessive stress on the back. Next time you go shopping and have to push a stroller for a prolonged period of time, consider taking turns with your spouse or other person you’re shopping with in order to minimize the stress put on your back by pushing your baby’s stroller all day.
12 Taking the stairs
Taking the stairs is generally considered a healthy habit. However, as they say, “every-thing in moderation.”
Going up and down stairs can place a lot of stress not only on your lower back, but on your knees as well. If you’re using stairs as a way to get more exercise, consider a slower pace, or use them less often.
While you shouldn’t rely on the elevator too much, it can be your friend from time to time.
13 Your diet
Did you know that what you eat and drink could be contributing to your lower back pain? In fact, a recent study found that theramine, an amino acid blend, could possibly have a greater effect in reducing lower back pain than Ibuprofen.
The question is— what foods should you avoid (and what should you eat instead) to minimize your lower back pain?
The science of reducing back pain by changing your diet revolves around eliminating foods that can increase inflammation in the body. Below is a list of foods that you should avoid, or at least only eat in moderation, if you want to decrease your lower back pain:
- Red meat
- White bread
- Sugary beverages
Of course, knowing what foods to avoid is important, but it’s also vital that you know what inflammation-fighting foods you should be including in your diet. Here are a few of them:
- Fish such as salmon, tuna, cod, and trout
- Nuts such as almonds and pecans
- Green vegetables such as kale and broccoli
- Fruits such as berries, grapes, oranges, and bananas
The litmus test for eating healthy is really quite simple; focus on fish and chicken for your protein sources, make sure to get your daily intake of vegetables and fruit, and avoid processed foods when possible.
A better diet can decrease inflammation in the lower back region, and help to fight against chronic back pain and stiffness.
14 Carrying groceries or other small bags
Oftentimes it’s the little things in life that give us the most trouble. We all know that lifting heavy objects can put stress on the lower back, but what about the small things that we have to carry every day?
Whether it’s groceries, a heavy purse, a backpack, or anything of that nature, carrying a bag the wrong way can lead to back pain, especially if you are hunched over while car-rying them.
Always be cognizant of what you are carrying. Remember, you don’t have to carry eve-rything from your vehicle to the kitchen counter all in one trip. An extra trip or two could help you reduce the amount of pain you are experiencing.
15 Reading in bed
There’s nothing inherently wrong with reading in bed, but it can lead to back and neck stiffness based on the position you are lying in while reading.
Many of us either sit in a semi-reclined position with our back propped against the headboard or a pillow, which can actually put additional stress on the lower back mus-cles. Laying on your side can also add strain to the spine and muscles in the lower back, causing additional tension.
There’s nothing like reading a book to wind down before getting some shuteye. Howev-er, we recommend that you create a sitting area in your home where you can read with-out putting stress on your back. It’s very difficult to achieve a comfortable position while reading in bed that won’t put additional stress on your back.
16 The wrong exercises
At Prospira Pain Care, we advocate minimally invasive treatments in order to help pa-tients avoid surgery and and over-reliance on prescription pain medications. As part of our treatment algorithm, exercise and physical activity are often recommended.
That being said, it’s important that you are doing exercises that are improving your lower back condition, not exacerbating it. If you’re experiencing lower back pain, it’s probably not a good idea to try and run a marathon or play golf every day, as those activities will likely worsen your symptoms.
Instead, focus on low impact activities, such as walking or riding a bike at a steady pace. While the right exercises can help decrease your lower back pain, the wrong ones can certainly make it worse.
Our doctors at Prospira Pain Care will create a customized pain management plan for you that incorporates just the right amount (and type of) exercise.
17 Drinking energy drinks
Energy drinks are sometimes referred to as “back pain in a bottle,” and for good reason.
These sugary drinks can not only increase inflammation in the lower back muscles, but according to a study published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, they may also be a contributing factor in the formation of kidney stones.
If you have a habit of drinking energy drinks and sugary soda on a regular basis, it’s time to trade those beverages in and increase your water intake. Water keeps the body hydrated and fights against both inflammation and the formation of kidney stones— two common causes of lower back pain.
18 No activity
A lack of physical activity can be the worst activity of all. In fact, being sedentary can increase your lower back pain. One of the common misconceptions about managing pain is that you should cease all activity and focus on rest, which usually is not the case.
What we’ve found is that, when patients go on bedrest for more than three days, their pain actually increases or remains constant. While rest is certainly an important compo-nent of the pain management process, you have to manage rest with movements to help decrease the pain you are experiencing in your lower back.
At Prospira Pain Care, our doctors will work with you to create a customized treatment plan that incorporates ideal amounts of rest and exercise so that you can start feeling better and living a happier, healthier life.
? Are you suffering from acute or chronic lower back pain? We can help.
It’s estimated that 90% of people will experience lower back pain at some point during their lives, and the causes can be difficult to diagnose and treat. If you’re tired of living a life consumed by lower back pain, it’s time to seek help from our pain management doc-tors at Prospira Pain Care.
We offer innovative treatments for patients who have suffered with back pain for years, and we’ve even helped those whose regular doctors told them there wasn’t much that could be done.
You don’t have to live your life in pain. With locations in Florida, Georgia, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and more, we are here to help you get your life back. Find our location nearest you and give us a call to schedule your first appointment today!