Back Pain: Is It Normal? Can Anything Really Help?
People often accept back pain as a normal part of life. They may feel like they need to just live with it and try to go on. Other people may feel they will just wait until their back pain gets worse before doing something about it. However, pain is never normal, and waiting for back pain to get worse can be dangerous.
Back pain is one of the most common reasons that people are hospitalized. Back pain is the third most common reason for surgery. Back pain can disturb your sleep, your work, cleaning your home, and just about anything you need to do on a daily basis. In some cases, we may be causing our own back pain. Here are some things that cause back pain and what you might be able to do to alleviate it. Then we will talk about where to get professional help for back pain that just won’t go away.
Causes of Back Pain
- Sitting for extended periods of time at a desk job. It is not true that standing causes more pain in your back than sitting. Sitting actually puts as much as 40 percent more pressure on the spine than standing. And there are more jobs than ever that require people to sit for extended time periods. RELIEF: Change the angle of your back when you are sitting. If you incline at a 135-degree angle, the compression of the disks of the back will be lessened.
- Long commutes to and from work: Riding in a car, a taxi, on a bus, or driving your own car is experienced by almost everyone. When it takes a long time, your body suffers from stress and immobility caused by traffic. RELIEF: Shifting the degree of your back’s inclination can significantly reduce the pain experience. Avoid positions requiring you to extend your legs for a long time.
- Refusing to exercise because of the pain. Of course, it makes sense when you are experiencing pain that you want to stop exercising. However, this is not the wisest course. By not exercising, you are actually causing your back to be delayed in the healing process. RELIEF: Try some mild form of exercise that you enjoy. We highly recommend walking as it can ease stiffness in the spine. You may also want to incorporate some stretching of the hamstrings and hips. This can give instant relief.
- Not stretching enough. When you sit for long periods, circulation of blood can be blocked. Stretching can help with this by removing the blockage and restoring blood flow. RELIEF: Gentle stretching and types of exercise like Pilates can improve blood flow and lower your stress levels.
- Too many crunches when exercising: While having a strong core is good in order to protect your back from strain, sit-ups and crunches can actually cause back pain rather than alleviate it. Crunches don’t work the proper muscles to help stabilize the back. RELIEF: You do not have to remove crunches entirely. Do them at a slower pace and be sure to use proper form. Focus your attention on the transverse abdominals, the muscles that give you a strong and steady core supporting the back.
- An unhealthy diet: Eating unhealthy food affects the entire body. Vital organs are damaged by unhealthy foods. Blood sugar levels and your back can be negatively affected. RELIEF: Staying on a diet that reduces inflammation is a good idea for your overall health. If at all possible, avoid caffeine and processed food. Increase whole grains, seeds, healthy protein, nuts, veggies, and fruits.
- Carrying heavy items, such as tote bags and bookbags: If bags are heavier than recommended, you are inflicting damage on your back and shoulders. This can be equal to an injury you may endure during sports. A heavy bag leads to an imbalance in the shoulders and the back. RELIEF: Carry the least amount of weight as possible. You should never carry anything that is over 10 percent of your body weight.
- Old beds: Your bed is your place to relax and get refreshed. If your mattress is old, it can lead to a number of health issues. A mattress should be thrown out after 10 years. RELIEF: Find a mattress that is not too hard or too soft. Be sure to sleep with a pillow under the knees or in between the knees. Avoid sleeping on your stomach if at all possible.
- Bicycling with improperly adjusted bikes: Biking is a healthy activity that can have a prominent place in your exercise routine overall. However, if you experience back pain after cycling, you may have to readjust your bike. RELIEF: Adjust the seat height on the bike so that you can reach the ground while straddling the seat but your legs can also extended as much as possible when they are on the pedals. Be sure your elbows are slightly bent when holding the handlebars.
Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care and Back Pain
If you have made some of the suggestions above and are still having back pain, it may be time to visit your local upper cervical chiropractor. We focus on helping the top bones of the neck get back into place and remain there. We do this through a gentle method not requiring us to pop or crack the spine or neck. These bones often move out of alignment through simple everyday mishaps such as a trip, a mild car accident, or a sporting accident. By correcting the misalignment, many people have reported seeing great relief for back pain.
To schedule a consultation with Dr. Perkins call 248-478-6203 or just click the button below
if you are outside of the local area you can find an Upper Cervical Doctor near you at www.uppercervicalawareness.com.