Did you know that 80% of people will experience back pain at some point in their life? And a majority of those who suffer this pain say it’s chronic. That is to say, we all hurt after a long day at work or sitting in the car. But most people feel some sort of back pain every single day. Ouch!
So what causes back pain? Is there an easy way to make it go away, without visiting an expensive chiropractor? Maybe surprisingly to you, bad posture is one of the leading causes of lower (and even upper) back pain. Here’s how you can improve your posture – your back will thank you!
What Causes Back Pain?
The most common cause of back pain is strain. That could mean strain on the muscles, but it could also mean strain on the ligaments as well. Muscle spasms also contribute to back pain.
Sometimes you can injure your back or cause pain by doing something silly. You could lift a heavy box the wrong way or twist your body in a way that it’s not meant to twist.
But oftentimes, back pain is inherent to the shape of your body, or to other physical factors. You may have a pinched nerve in your back, or an improperly aligned spine. Herniated discs are a common cause of back pain and should be treated by a doctor.
Back pain can be a debilitating feeling. When your back hurts, it causes your whole body to ache. You may even begin to experience other symptoms, like migraine headaches.
If you’re suffering from back pain, the first thing you should do is consult with your physician. She can help you determine the exact cause of your pain and will recommend ways to treat it.
Back Pain Caused by Bad Posture
While it’s not uncommon to suffer from back pain due to a physical cause, your doctor will most likely recommend that you improve your posture.
Standing, or even sitting, with poor posture can have a huge impact on the health of your back. Defining posture is simple – it’s just the way we hold ourselves as we sit, stand or even while lying down. If we don’t have proper posture, our bones and muscles will twist and become misaligned. That’s what causes back pain.
By improving your posture, you can help to stop back pain before it even starts. And if you do already feel pain in your back, you can help to eliminate that pain.
There are many ways by which back pain is caused by poor posture. Most commonly, you’ll be constricting your blood vessels and your nerves. In more extreme cases, you’ll actually be redefining the shape of your spine by repeatedly sitting or standing in an inappropriate position.
Good news! You can fix it! By maintaining good posture, you can alleviate the pain you feel, and prevent back pain from happening in the future. Here’s how.
Stand Tall and Proud
Most people slouch. Slouching while you sit or stand can feel relaxing as you’re doing it. Unfortunately, it can have a huge impact on your spine, and will cause a great deal of back pain in the long term.
When you stand or walk, pretend you’re balancing a glass of water on your head. It shouldn’t feel awkward or look weird, and you shouldn’t stiffen up. Instead, stand tall and straight and relax your muscles as best you can. This will help to align your spinal column in the right way.
As you sit, do the same. Make a conscious effort to sit with your back up against your chair and keep your feet at hips-distance apart. Your feet should be flat on the floor. Eventually, this will become second nature to you, and your back will begin to feel better.
As I mentioned, sometimes we get excited and do things that aren’t in the best interest of our back. Lifting is a common cause of strains in the back and can lead to excruciating back pain.
When you lift, be sure to follow the ages-old rule: lift with your legs, not your back. You should feel the muscles in your thighs and your arms working as you lift heavy objects. You should never feel strain in your back.
There’s an exercise you can do to help align your back. First, sit on the floor with your knees up in front of you. Then, slowly curve your back as you lower your upper body to the floor. You may feel a small “pop” of your spine. This should not be painful.
Then, take your arms and, one by one, cross them over your chest. Then, slowly lower your knees to extend your legs straight.
Hold this position for a few minutes. When you’re ready to get up, roll onto your side and get up that way. You can do this exercise as often as you feel you’d benefit from a stretch.
Care for your feet
Good posture, obviously, starts in your feet. If you’re wearing shoes which don’t fit properly, or if you wear high heels all day, you’re more prone to experiencing back pain.
Take a proactive step and use orthotic insoles in your shoes. These will help distribute the weight in your feet and will provide a “cushion” to your step. You’ll notice less back pain as a result.
You may want to consider tossing those high heels back in your closet. Wearing high heels can cause a great deal of misalignment to your spine. They may look great, but they certainly don’t make your back happy.
If you continue to experience back pain, please check with your doctor. It may be that there are other issues at play – issues you wouldn’t want to leave unchecked. Your doctor can help you identify the problem. If necessary, she can refer you to a chiropractor.
For most people, though, there’s no need for a chiropractor. Just fixing your posture and standing tall will take care of the back pain most people experience.
Try our Total Support Insoles that help with pain in the back, feet, legs, hips or knees: