One of the most debilitating conditions a person can suffer from is back pain. This type of pain can range from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp pain that makes it hard to move.
Sharp and chronic pain can limit the way a person lives, and, worst of all, keep a person away from doing what he or she loves to do the most.
Back pain is a very common problem that brings great discomfort to the sufferer. In fact, back pain sends more patients to doctors than any condition other than the common cold. It is also one of the common reasons for hospitalizations and surgery.
There can be many medical reasons behind back problems, such as arthritis, injury, inflammation, fracture, nerve injury and so on. But, at the same time, many insignificant everyday habits can take a big toll on your back over time.
Here are the some daily things that are bad for your back.
1. Long Drives
Whether you need to drive for long hours to your office or some other place, long drives are not good for your back.
Hunching over a steering wheel can lead to tight chest muscles and cause your shoulders to round. This in turn can cause back pain in the coming years.
If a long commute is a must, always be conscious of your driving posture. Try to sit as straight as possible at a 90-degree angle, so that your body remains close to the wheel and there is less need to stretch. Avoid extending your leg while driving, as it puts pressure on your back.
You can also use a lumbar pillow to support the natural arch of your back.
If possible, for every 30 minutes of driving, take a 5-minute break and walk around to stretch your legs and give comfort to your back.
2. Sitting Job
Sitting puts more pressure on your spine than standing. In fact, for those who have a sitting job, their back has to bear a lot. It is mainly due to the poor sitting posture that most of us practice without even realizing it.
Spending most of the time in a seated position with poor posture can lead to premature degeneration of the spine and chronic back pain. Also, prolonged sitting is linked to cramps or strains in the back, especially when stretched suddenly.
A 2010 article by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety reports that prolonged sitting causes damage to the muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments, affecting the neck and lower back regions.
Plus, sitting for extended periods of time has been linked to several other health problems, such as obesity, blood clots, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
To reduce the damage to your back while sitting, make sure to take frequent walking breaks. For every one hour of sitting, take a 10-minute walking break.
Also, sit on a chair that supports the curve of your spine. Your lower back should be supported, and your head should be straight while working at your computer screen.
3. Love for High Heels
Ladies are crazy about high heels, as they add inches to their height and even give a boost to their confidence level.
One negative effect of wearing high heels on a daily basis is lower back pain over time.
Wearing high heels regularly causes the lower back to push forward, making the hips and spine out of alignment. This in turn can cause pain in your feet, legs as well as lower back.
A 2010 study published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine considers that both low back pain and the wearing of high-heeled-shoes are linked to each other. However, this needs further investigation.
Avoid wearing high heels for extended periods of time and keep the heel size to not more than two inches. Before and after wearing high heels, stretch your leg muscles.
Keep different types of footwear and wear different shoes every two days.
After a long hectic day on your feet, soak your feet in warm water with a little salt for 15 minutes.
4. Carrying Your Bag
Ladies especially have a habit of carrying their purse or bag on their shoulder. Even students are generally seen with their laptop bag or backpack slung around their body. This common daily habit is another big culprit for causing back pain in women as well as young adults.
When you throw a heavy bag over one shoulder, it puts excess pressure on the lower back as well as shoulder, which can cause pain over time. Carrying a bag on the same side can also permanently corrupt your posture.
Do not put excess stuff in your handbag. The heavier your handbag, the more damaging the effect can be on your back. Some people even suffer from tension headaches from the muscles being forced to do all of this heavy lifting.
Try to carry the lightest bag or purse possible. Your bag should not weigh more than 10 percent of your body weight. If needed, consider splitting your stuff in two bags and carry one in each arm.
Also, carry the bag on alternate shoulders from time to time.
Moreover, a 2014 study published in BMC Research Notes found that a majority of school students complained of musculoskeletal pain, of which 35.4 percent was attributed to the schoolbags. This is common in pupils who carry schoolbags weighing more than 10 percent of their body weight.