Back pain is one of the leading causes of disability. The excessive amount of stress we live with nowadays results in our paying little attention to the health of our spine.
Back pain not only affects your health, it can limit your efficiency and productivity in all aspects of your life. Also, if the problem worsens, it could impact your family and social relationships.
Ready to find out how your day-to-day life is causing your back problems? Keep reading and we’ll show you the main causes, as well as alternatives to avoid or reduce your issues.
1. You carry too much weight on your back
Heavy purses, backpacks, suitcases, and electronic devices like laptops are one of the main culprits of back pain. In addition, if you walk with bad posture while carrying heavy objects, your spine will suffer even more.
To avoid back pain, remember to:
- Take only what you need and be realistic about the weight you’ll have to carry.
- Instead of carrying a purse on one of your shoulders, try to use a backpack to distribute the weight to both shoulders.
- If you have to carry many things, split the weight into two or three bags to balance the load between both shoulders.
- If your things weigh too much, try to use a wheeled suitcase.
2. You lift heavy objects without bending your knees
Oftentimes, we tend to pick something up that’s on the floor or put something down without bending our knees. The only end-result this mistake can bring about is back pain or aggravating current pain.
To avoid that from happening, bend your knees while keeping your back straight, like doing a squat. If you have knee problems, bend the knees carefully and never lift more than you can handle.
Furthermore, if you have severe knee problems, ask for help.
3. You live a sedentary lifestyle
Be it for work or studies, you probably spend too much time sitting down without taking any breaks. Sooner or later, you’ll pay the price with back pain.
You should take a 10-minute break at least once every hour or hour and a half. If you’re someone that focuses too much on a task at hand and lose track of time, set alarms to remind you.
Also, during those 10-minute breaks, try to stand, stretch, and do some exercises to make your blood flow. You can go out for a walk or, at least, walk around your yard if you have one.
Finally, you don’t have to do strenuous exercise—all you have to do is move a little.
4. You sit with poor posture
Do you spend most of your days sitting down for long periods of time? Do you spend your free time doing activities where you’re sitting or in a similar position? If this is the case, in addition to taking a break for 10 minutes, make sure you do the following:
- Keep your back straight and completely supported against the back of the seat or chair.
- Avoid crossing your legs and make sure to sit with your feet flat on the floor.
- Your shoulders should be back, chin up, and neck straight.
Should you need to lean during an activity, check your posture to make sure you don’t bend down too far.
Also, we recommend using an ergonomic seat with adequate back support to improve your posture. If needed, invest in ergonomic equipment for your computer so that everything is appropriately placed height-wise and for your hands, as well.
5. You slouch while you walk
Walking is one of the healthiest habits but poses a problem if we walk hunched over all the time. Do you hang your head down, looking at the ground with your shoulders slouching forward when you walk?
Your posture should be natural, keeping a balance between all parts of your body, with your head, neck, back and legs aligned. If you’re not used to keeping good posture, it can feel uncomfortable and somewhat painful at first.
Despite the initial discomfort, try to change this bad habit little by little. In a few weeks’ time, you’ll notice that it’s easier to keep correct posture.
6. You spend too much time in your car
How much time do you spend stuck in traffic every day? Whether you travel by public transport or in your own car, you’re probably spending hours in uncomfortable positions.
To prevent back pain from this source, we recommend the following:
- Keep the seat as straight as possible when driving. Remember what we mentioned about staying seated in the correct position and with your back against the back of the chair.
- Use a cushion for your neck, if needed. Some cars have the neck support placed very low. If that’s the case with yours, get an extra one that can be adjusted. If it’s not possible, buy a cushion that adapts to your neck.
- Walk as much as possible. Instead of using a car every time you need something, go for a walk. Some people take their car to go to places that are nearby; if it’s not very far, walk.
It’s possible that your day-to-day life and worries are very distracting. As such, it’s not surprising that back pain might go almost unnoticed when it does appear. When you do feel it, identify which habit is affecting you and modify it.