Do you (or someone you love) suffer from chronic back pain? Chronic back pain is common and many causes of back pain are actually preventable. Just one or two bad habits can take a massive toll on your back. See how these bad habits could contribute to back pain, and what you can do about it.
There’s a good chance your job requires you to sit or stand for extended periods each day, both of which can leave your back stiff and achy. Do your best to stretch or move around every 30 minutes, if you can’t take regular breaks. Consider switching to a desk that allows you to alternate between sitting and standing and shift often between the two.
Bad posture is responsible for much of the chronic back and neck pain most of us experience. It’s easy to slouch and crane your neck forward, especially when you’re sitting at a desk and staring at a computer screen. Over time, this can lead to bulging discs and pinched nerves, which can create a whole new level of chronic pain.
When you’re sitting, make sure your lumbar region is well supported, allowing you to hold yourself upright. Keep your shoulders relaxed and rolled back, and hold your head up straight without leaning to read the screen. When standing, try not to hold still for long periods and stay mindful of your back’s natural arch. You might need to correct yourself often at first, but keeping good posture gets easier with time.
There’s no one recommended mattress to remedy chronic back and neck pain, but studies have shown firm mattresses are worse than foam and waterbeds. If you sleep on a firm mattress, consider replacing it or getting a foam mattress topper. Other factors are also likely contributing to your pain, but slightly reducing the firmness of your mattress could make a difference.
Stress can be painful, and it often manifests in the back. Tight shoulders, painful neck and pain down the center of the back can all be signs of anxiety or stress. If you’re in regular pain and can’t find any other cause, stress is the likely culprit. Give meditation a try, take a hot bath or listen to relaxing music. Pinpoint the source of your stress and find new strategies to manage it. If you need some direction, consider seeking a therapist who specializes in stress management.
Many people who suffer from chronic pain are simply victims of poor diet. Researchers recommend reducing the amount of inflammatory foods you eat. This includes saturated fats, meats and other sources of omega-6 fatty acids. Increase your use of canola and olive oil to balance those omegas and increase whole grain, vegetable and nut intake to reduce your serving sizes of meats and empty carbs.
Chronic back pain does sometimes signal serious health conditions, but in most cases you can reverse your suffering just by changing a few bad habits. Consider how yours could be affecting your health, and then see what you can do to replace them with healthier choices. The changes might take some effort and practice, but the payoff will likely be worth it.
~ Here’s to Your Health and Wellness