When it comes to back pain, the odds are not in our favor. An estimated 85% of people experience moderate to severe back pain at some point in their lives. Understanding the common causes of back pain can allow you to take measures to help treat, or even prevent back pain. Take a look at five of the common factors that can cause back pain, and learn how you can help keep your back healthy.
Living a Sedentary Lifestyle
While most initial episodes of back pain will resolve themselves on their own given time and rest, the experts at Northamericanspine.com believe that strengthening abdominal (core) muscles through exercise is a good way to help treat (and prevent) back pain. Exercises like Pilates are great for helping prevent back pain because they strengthen your core and stretch out your back muscles. Pilates also helps decrease inflammation and ease muscle tension.
Not Getting Enough Calcium and Vitamin D
These two nutrients are essential to bone health and growth. A diet that does not include the appropriate amount of calcium and vitamin D should be restructured to incorporate these bone-stimulating nutrients. In addition to dairy, green vegetables such as broccoli, kale and spinach are excellent sources of calcium. Vitamin D is also found in dairy foods, as well as fatty fish such as tuna and salmon.
Yes, back pain is yet another reason not to smoke. Doctors have known for years that the nicotine in cigarettes affects the way bones heal. Nicotine also restricts the blood flow that normally goes to the discs in the spine, which cushion the vertebrae.
Being overweight puts strain on the spine and back muscles. It also pushes your center of gravity forward, putting the pressure of your upper body weight directly on your lower back muscles. Losing weight may ease back pain and help prevent further strain on your spine.
This one seems obvious, but many people still do not take the appropriate steps to correct their posture. Posture isn’t just about standing up straight. While sitting, keep your feet flat on the floor and your knees and hips at the same level. Correct posture helps strengthen upper back muscles and reduce the strain on the lower back. Added benefit: Increased perceived height!
Back pain is not always 100% preventable as injuries can always happen. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take preventative measures. By correcting bad habits you can better control the strain on your spine and reduce your chances of having back pain.