Suffering back pain? You can help yourself by knowing and avoiding these 10 common back pain causes. Statistics state that 80% of us will have some form of back pain sometime in our lives. Back pain can range from a mild annoying ache to severe disabling agony. The longer you ignore mild back pain, the more likely that at some time in your life you will suffer disabling back pain. Here are 8 common back pain causes and how to avoid them:

 1. Poor Body Mechanics: Body mechanics (aka ergonomics) refers to the way your entire body adjusts to keep its balance as you move and rest.

 You upset your body mechanics when you:

– move or lift heavy objects incorrectly

–  carry or lift something too heavy

– sit or stand in an un-natural position

– twist your body abruptly or awkwardly.

– Improperly sit, stand and sleep

What to do:

  • Use a speaker phone or headset instead of holding the phone with your shoulder.
  • Lighten the loads you carry – clean out that purse, brief case or tool box – carry only what you need.
  • When carrying heavy loads: balance the weight on each side of your body. Use hand trucks, dollys or luggage carriers when available.
  • Avoid carrying your wallet in your back pocket where it can press on your sciatic nerve and also throw off the balance of your spine when sitting.
  • Avoid awkward or unbalanced postures such as sitting with one leg under you or standing with all your weight on one leg.
  • When riding in a car, stop and stretch each hour. When sitting at work, stand and stretch each hour.
  • Make sure you are using good sitting, standing and lying down posture to ease stress on your back. We can teach you the good postures.
  • Never spend time lying on a couch if your back is hurting or if you wish to avoid a bad back or neck.
  • Sleep on your back or sides with your head properly supported. Avoid sleeping on your stomach.
  1. Weak or Fatigued Muscles: Weak, under-exercised or fatigued muscles rob your back of support. Poor muscle tone also makes the muscles more likely to be injured when they are stressed.

What to do:

  • We can teach you special spinal muscle exercises to strengthen the muscles that protect your spine and ease pressure on the joints and discs.
  • Regular moderate exercise like walking, bike riding or swimming can decrease back pain, strengthen spinal muscles and stimulate blood flow to the spinal discs and joints. These exercises need to be the balanced ones that use both sides of your body equally.
  1. Extra Weight: Extra weight that settles in the abdomen and hips strains the back by exaggerating the curve of the lower spine. An increased lower back curve increases pressure on the lower back joints. Ten (10) pounds of extra weight in the abdomen equals 100 pounds of pressure on the lower back joints.

What to do:

  • Watch that tummy weight. Even a modest loss of a pound or two of tummy weight adds up to 10 to 20 pounds of relief to the lower back joints. A low carb, high protein diet with lots of veggies often helps reduce tummy weight.
  • Excess stress for prolonged times can also cause stomach area weight gain. There are nutritional and herbal approaches that can help with addressing stress weight gain.
  • Toxic weight gain (from exposures to pesticides and other chemicals) can also settle around the stomach and hips. We offer detoxification diets and supplements that can help weight loss due to this problem.
  1. Improper Footwear:

    – Wearing non-supportive footwear or footwear that fits improperly, can cause back pain or injury.- Habitual wearing of high heeled shoes or boots can lead to swayback and shortened calf muscles and tendons.

    – Also foot wear that is worn down in the heels or soles can lead to back pains.

       What to do:

  • Check the heels of your shoes. Replace worn heels on your shoes or get different shoes. When your back hurts, do not wear shoes with run down heels.
  • Limit standing in high heels.
  • When your back hurts, wear running shoes if you have them or the most supportive shoes you own.
  • If your running shoes are no longer supportive, get new ones
  1. Poor Health Habits:

    – Improper diet makes the back more vulnerable to injury, especially if you don’t get enough calcium (for strong bones) or protein (for strong muscles and ligaments).

      – Lack of sleep can rob every part of the body, including your back, of energy and stamina.

    – Tobacco products decrease the blood supply to all parts of the body and robs discs of nutrients needed to keep them healthy. Chronic coughing can also cause or increase neck and back problems. Nicotine also will perpetuate pain from trigger points in the muscles.

What to do:

  • Get good sleep on a firm, supportive sleeping surface.
  • Get adequate amounts of Vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, and potassium in your diet (found in fruits and vegetables and eggs among other foods)
  • Limit or avoid processed foods. Processed foods tend to be low in nutrients and high in questionable chemicals.
  • Avoid excess caffeine, alcohol, and all nicotine.
  1. Stress, Anxiety, Depression And Other Strong Emotions: can cause muscle tension in the back and throw muscles into spasms. This results in mild discomfort to severe pain and a vulnerable back.

          What to do:

  • Exercise can relieve stress by burning off the stress chemicals
  • learn stress reducing activities to relieve the ravages of too much stress on your body such as meditation, and relaxation techniques
  • learn coping skills (these are normally taught by social workers)
  1. Lack of Exercise: Little or no exercise can result in decreased blood circulation to muscles. Lack of exercise also can cause slower coordination, affecting your ability to respond quickly in a situation.

What to do:

  • Get up and move, dance, walk, climb stairs whatever you can do to use your muscles
  • Optimally exercise from these categories throughout the week: aerobic (walking, running swimming, biking), weight training (with machines or free weights), stretching (think yoga), massage (foam rolling)
  1. Failing to get treatment for a mild problem before it worsens. Ignoring mild or moderate problems allows imbalances in your body to worsen or even become permanent.

    What to do:

  • Get regular chiropractic adjustments to keep your spine in as optimal alignment as you can.
  • It is much easier, faster and less expensive to treat a mild back pain condition than to wait until you are in agony. While we do treat patients with bad back pain regularly, it just takes longer and more effort to help people with a more severe problem.

Do you have difficulty with any of these issues? We are here to help. Simply give us a call at 978-535-6155 to schedule a convenient appointment.