When back pain strikes, all you want to do is find a magical, immediate way of making it go away – and hope that it never comes back again. Unfortunately, wishing doesn’t make it so – and not doing anything to fix the problem makes it all the more likely that your pain will stick with you for the long term, or come back before you know it.
One of the saddest things about back pain is that most people who have it don’t realize how much they are contributing to their own misery. Though they may think that they’re doing the right thing by taking medications, or applying heat or ice where it hurts, they seldom are self-aware enough to know that they are engaging in habits and activities that may be making their pain even worse. Here are some of the top bad habits that contribute to back pain. Look through them carefully and see how many of them apply to you.
- You’re sitting at your desk all day, or for long hours in the car – Though people tend to think that sitting is the same as resting, it actually can be really bad for your back, especially if you have little support. You should take stretch breaks on a regular basis and make sure that your chair supports the curve of your spine. The same is true when you’re driving. Too many hours behind the wheel causes your shoulders to slump forward and can cause back and neck pain.
- You’re not getting any exercise – The more active you are, the better your back is likely to be, and the less active you are the more likely it is that your pain is going to get worse. Exercise can strengthen your core and boost your circulation. Plus, it can ease stiffness and stretch out the muscles whose stiffness contributes to your pain. Start going to the gym, going for a walk, or adding a stretching regimen. Yoga is particularly helpful, as it will also ease the stress that can add to tightness and tension in your shoulders, but try to stay away from sit-ups and crunches as they can contribute to an imbalance in your core.
- You’re eating a ton of junk food – The unhealthier your diet, the worse for your back. Eating a lot of high-fat foods will impact your circulatory system, making it harder to clear out toxins and wastes. This can add to inflammation, making the pain even worse than it has to be.
- You’re carrying a heavy purse or wearing high heels – We’ve all heard about suffering for beauty, but your accessories can really cause some agony. Many women’s handbags are worn on the same shoulder all the time and can weigh as much as 20 pounds. This can throw your spine out of alignment – and so can walking around in shoes that force you to arch your back. Backless sandals are also a problem, as they force you to adopt a gait where you are moving your feet from side to side.