Is your daily routine playing havoc with your back
Tuesday 3 October 2017
Back pain is a very common problem. About 80 percent of adults experience low back pain at some point in their lifetimes¹. Sometimes it’s obvious what’s causing your back pain such as a car accident or arthritis, but more often, it is not clear and this is known as “non-specific” back pain.
Often back-pain seems to come out of the blue. In reality, the root cause of your pain is often due to going about what are seemingly safe, mundane daily activities that lead to muscle strain and imbalances.
Daily routine activities that may cause back pain
Staying seated for prolonged periods
Being glued to your seat for long periods of time is not natural for your body. Activities such as being deskbound at work, driving, a long commute, or watching television can put incredible strain on your lumbar back.
Additionally, if you are not physically fit you may have a weak back and vulnerable abdominal muscles that aren’t able to support your spine properly and can cause back pain.
Improper posture whilst sitting puts pressure on your back. This includes slouching while you are sitting, rounding your shoulders and holding your head forwards. The ligaments in your spine may become overstretched and your spinal discs strained, which may damage your spine and cause back pain.
Often the workstation for employees is not ergonomic and this compounds the problem. Try to choose an ergonomics chair and take regular breaks.
Your day to day life generally involves lifting heavy things. Lifting can put strain on your back and may lead to muscle imbalance. It may be that you are lifting heavy groceries, carrying small children, lugging your suitcase, using heavy garden equipment, or lifting boxes at work. Try to minimise lifting when possible and ensure you lift correctly, paying attention to keep the load close to your waist whilst in a stable position and not to bend or twist whilst lifting.
Carrying a heavy bag
Toting a heavy bag around can cause a shoulder imbalance as the shoulder carrying the bag elevates and offsets your spine. Declutter your handbag and carry only the essentials that you need with you. You could try alternating the shoulder you carry it on or use a back pack for a more even load.
Wearing flip flops or high heels
Both of these types of footwear lead to foot instability and an unnatural gait which can affect your back and cause back pain. High heels may make you arch your back which may lead to abnormal spine loading patterns, backless shoes like sandals and flip flops cause your feet to move from side to side and unevenly distribute your body weight as well as generally leading to shorter stride lengths.
Your back is more important than fashion shoes. It’s advisable to wear these types of footwear only occasionally.
Bike-riding on a bike that doesn’t fit you properly
Many bike riders experience some form of back pain, even from a leisurely ride, as their bike isn’t properly fitted. It’s worth popping into a bike shop to check and fit your bike for you.
When you sneeze, you tend to lean your body forward and together they can put great force on your intervertebral discs and this can lead to back pain. Try placing both hands on a table when you sneeze to prevent yourself leaning forwards.
You feel stressed
Your emotions, such as stress and anger, can trigger muscle tension and influence the strength of your pain signal for back pain. Try to organise your day so that you don’t get stressed and anxious.
You’re overweight or obese
If you are overweight or obese your body will be placing too much weight on your back and this may lead to back pain. Try to eat a healthy balanced diet and maintain a healthy weight.
Back and spinal care at New Hall Hospital
At New Hall Hospital, our highly skilled spinal surgeons aim to offer advice, pain relief and improved mobility for patients suffering from back pain so that they can get back to normal life as quickly as possible.
We also have a comprehensive physiotherapy service for patients with back pain. Our chartered physiotherapists will be able to assess your back pain and develop a program to help relieve your pain. If necessary they can refer to a consultant spinal surgeon.
If you have been experiencing back pain then come and see one of our orthopaedic surgeons or a member of our physiotherapy department.
To make an appointment please call 01722 422333 or contact us