Back pain is one of the most common conditions that people deal with on a regular basis, but it doesn’t always come about as a result of an acute injury. In fact, most causes of back pain are much less obvious, and we may be putting our spines in jeopardy on a daily basis without even knowing it. Below, we take a closer look at everyday actions that can contribute to back pain, and how to keep your spine healthy each and every day.
Everyday Actions That Contribute To Back Pain
Here’s a number of ways our daily life can contribute to back pain, and how you can prevent them from causing discomfort.
Cell Phone – Nowadays it seems like everybody has a smartphone, and we use them constantly throughout the day. Not surprisingly, doctors have also seen a rise in a condition known as “text neck,” which is categorized by cervical spine pain as a result of constantly craning the neck forward to look down at a phone. When using your cell phone, have it out in front of you so that you aren’t straining your neck, and be cognizant of how much time you spend on your phone each day, because repetitive neck stress can lead to more serious injuries, like disc and nerve issues.
Computers and TV – If you sit behind a desk all day for work, or you like to unwind after a long day at the office with some television, then you need to be aware of your posture and how it can affect your spine. If you’re hunched forward staring at your computer screen, or you’re slouching on the couch, your cervical and lumbar areas of your spine are going to be overstressed. Keep your head positioned directly over your shoulders and sit up straight so that stress is channeled appropriately throughout your body.
Driving Position – Do you drive with the seat reclined to the point that you’re only using part of the seat rest, or are you positioned so forward that you’re almost leaning over the wheel when you drive? Again, be aware of your posture when you’re behind the wheel. If you’re not careful, the passive action of driving will feel physically exhausting for your spine muscles. Make sure you’re using your back rest to its full potential, and consider sliding a small pillow or towel behind the small of your back to help naturally guide your spine into a healthy position.
Handbags and Wallets – If you carry around a heavy purse or handbag every day, you may be putting uneven stress on your spine. If you always have your bag over the same shoulder, parts of your spine are going to be overstressed. Try to keep your bag light and wear it so that one side isn’t bearing the brunt of the stress. Same goes for your wallet if you keep it in a back pocket. A very full wallet will create uneven stress on your lumbar spine when you sit down, so keep your wallet light or remove it from your back pocket when driving or being seated for long periods.
Backpacks – Backpacks are a common source of back pain for many school-aged kids. Make sure they aren’t overloading their backpack with books, and be sure that they are wearing the shoulder straps over both shoulders, not just one. A well-fitted backpack will sit just above a person’s butt, so make adjustments as necessary to avoid overworking your back.
These are just some of the ways we put our spine through the ringer on a daily basis. For more information, or to discuss your back pain with a doctor, reach out to Dr. Chang’s office today.