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Most people have experienced back pain at least once in their life and it can be agonizing. It can be very sharp and continuous, or it can come and go.
Having back pain makes it very hard to move around and perform day-to-day activities. This type of pain can limit mobility. (1)
Back pain is a very common condition and it can arise due to various underlying conditions that include: (1)
- Nerve problems
Other than these conditions, back pain is usually caused by the small things that you do not realize are damaging to your back.
Habits That Cause Back Pain
1. Sitting for long durations
When you sit, you put a lot of pressure on your spinal cord. Some people have to sit for hours on end because of their desk jobs; students have to sit for long periods to study.
The problem with sitting for long durations is you usually do it with incorrect posture, which leads to back problems.
Sitting for long hours causes premature degeneration of the spine, which causes an increased risk of chronic backaches. It also causes cramps and strains in the back. Moreover, sitting without taking breaks to move around leads to damage to the bones, muscles, and ligaments in your back region. (3)
This is why you should make sure that you take walk breaks when having to sit for a long duration. For every hour of sitting down, make sure that you walk for 10 minutes.
It is also important to make sure that your posture is correct when you sit and type. (4)
The correct posture for sitting is as follows: (4)
- Your back is supported by the chair.
- Your thighs are parallel to the ground.
- Your knee joint is making a 90° angle with the floor.
- Your eyes are in the direct line of sight with your computer.
- Your elbows are well rested on the table.
2. Driving for long hours
Many people spend long hours behind the wheel when driving to work, school, or other places. Long drives like this are not good for the back.
Hunching over the steering wheel causes back issues. Also, driving does not allow for very comfortable sitting positions or range of movement, leading to backaches. (5)
You must try to make a 90° angle as you sit on the car seat and stay close to the steering wheel so that you don’t have to stretch your legs. You can also invest in pillows or seat covers that provide lumbar support.
3. Carrying heavy bags
Excessive weight on the shoulders can lead to a bad and unhealthy posture, causing pain in the shoulder and back. The heavy lifting of bags can also lead to headaches due to the pressure applied to the back muscles.
Therefore, try not to carry heavy bags that exceed more than 10% of your body weight. (6) Parents should ensure that their children take only the necessary stuff to school to avoid carrying unnecessarily heavy bags.
4. Wearing high heels
High heels are no doubt attractive, but there are some negative effects of wearing high heels for long periods of time or on a daily basis.
Regularly wearing high heels is linked to lower back pain because they make the hips and spine go out of alignment. (7)
Women should avoid wearing high heels every day and should not wear them for long durations. If you do need to wear high heels for the day, try to soak your feet in warm water for a few minutes after coming back home.
5. Sleeping in an incorrect posture
You may have a specific posture that is very comfortable to sleep in, but it does not always mean that this posture is good for your back. Some sleeping postures are linked with back pain and also poor quality of sleep.
To avoid backaches and related problems, try to sleep in the right posture. The fetal position is a good position to sleep in if you don’t put your knees too close to the chest. Also, try to make sure your spine remains neutral when sleeping. Your pillow should also be very comfortable. (8)
6. Being stressed out
Stress can cause a lot of health problems, and backache is just one of them. Stress causes muscles to clench, which can trigger back pain. So being stressed constantly is not good for your back. (9)
To avoid back pain, you must do something about your stress. Some activities to help de-stress after a long day include: (10)
- Listening to music
- Reading a book
- Talking to a friend
If you have been experiencing stress for a long period, you can also seek professional help to get better.
When to See a Doctor
Usually, back pain does not require medical attention, but if the pain becomes extreme, chronic, or severe, you should see the doctor. Also, if the backache does not resolve by itself within a few days, then medical assistance might be required.
- Chest pain
- Tingling in the legs
- Uncontrollable bowel movements
- Swelling in the back
- Sudden weight loss
- Constant and continuous pain
Most-Asked Questions About Back Pain
Can doing the wrong exercise lead to back pain?
Exercising is good for your body, but at the same time, not knowing the right exercise or lifting heavy weights can be damaging to your back. It is important that you do exercises only after referring to a professional trainer who can guide you.
Doing aerobic exercises daily is a good way to maintain your health without giving trouble to your back. Make sure to observe the correct form and posture while exercising to avoid injuries. (11)
What are some symptoms of back pain?
Back pain can be felt anywhere along your spine. Its symptoms include: (1)
- Muscle pain
- Reduced mobility
What are some risk factors that can contribute to back pain?
Here are some factors that can increase the risk of developing back pain: (2)
- As you age, your bone strength decreases, making you prone to wear and tear of the back, which can lead to back pain.
- Being overweight can put extra pressure on the spine, causing back pain.
- Smoking can damage tissues in the back and is therefore a risk factor.
- Pregnancy can put extra strain on your back, causing backache.
- Having a job that requires heavy lifting or long sitting hours also contributes to back pain.
- Mental illnesses such as depression can also contribute to back pain.
What are some quick home remedies for back pain?
Many times, back pain goes away by itself after a few days, but if it persists for a longer duration, you should seek medical help.
A few remedies that can help relieve back pain include: (2)
- Temperature therapy – Warm or cold compresses are a good way to loosen tight muscles and relieve back pain.
- Rest – If you experience back pain, resting is the way to go because it will help take some pressure off your back.
- Painkillers – Taking over-the-counter painkillers or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs is also helpful in dealing with back pain.
Back pain is something that many people experience. It can stem from a lot of reasons, but mostly it’s because of seemingly harmless things that you don’t realize are hurting your back.
Making small changes in your daily life and developing good habits such as practicing the correct sitting posture are great ways of preventing back problems.