To help you better manage, and even prevent, lower back pain, Dr. Harvinder S. Bedi and our team here at Camelback Spine Care pulled together a list of some of the bad habits that aren’t doing your lower back any favors.
Taking too much load off
Humans have gone from more active hunter gatherers to sedentary workers and students who spend long hours seated at desks. Your back isn’t designed for these prolonged hours of sitting — in fact, sitting places 40% more pressure on your spine than standing.
If your day is largely spent in a seated position, you’d do well to take frequent breaks, at least every hour, to get up and move and stretch. Also, while you’re at your desk, try to lean back a little to relieve the pressure on your spine.
Poor sitting posture
While we’re on the subject of sitting, let’s take a look at posture. Hunching forward at a keyboard is terrible for your lower back and neck. A quick fix is to ensure that you have a desk chair that provides ample lumbar support and position your keyboard and computer screen higher up. When you’re at your desk, be sure that your shoulders are back and both feet are firmly on the floor.
Lack of exercise
When your back is in pain, you’re not so inclined to get up and move. Exercising, however, is one of the best things you can do for your lower back. Instead of succumbing to your lower back pain, take a few minutes to stretch to loosen your back and then go for a nice, brisk walk.
Too much tightness
Between our sedentary lifestyles and the mounting stress we face these days, our bodies can become tight, which can cause pain. To relieve both your stress and your physical tension, engage in regular stretching regimens — five minutes in the morning and five minutes before you go to bed is sometimes all it takes.
Better still, enroll in a yoga class (there are plenty online). Yoga is one of the best ways to preserve flexibility in your lower back, as well as strengthen the supporting muscles.
Shoes that aren’t back friendly
For women who frequently experience lower back pain, often the culprit is at your feet, or on them. High-heeled shoes place considerable strain on your lower back, so you’d do well to bring those heels down to under an inch.
There are dozens of reasons why smoking is bad for you, and we’re going to add lower back pain to the list. People who smoke are more prone to degenerative disc disease, so we urge you to add lower back pain to the long list of reasons why you should quit.
The wrong mattress
This last point isn’t so much a bad habit as a poor choice. Humans should spend 7-9 hours in bed sleeping, which means your mattress needs to supply ample support for your spine. A mattress that is too soft or too firm can leave you with an achy lower back in the morning, which is why you should find the perfect mattress for your back.
If you’re concerned about other habits that aren’t listed here, or you have more questions about lower back pain, please contact one of our two offices in Peoria or Phoenix, Arizona.