Back Pain? Three Surprising Habits that Hurt Your Spine
If you have googled 'preventing back pain' you may have found the list of the common sources of back pain from lifting heavy objects incorrectly to sports injury, repetitive strain and poor posture. It is always surprising how easy it is to overlook every day habits that contribute to back pain!
Check and see if these three daily habits apply to you.
1 - Do you have a poor diet?
Did you know that Newfoundland has the highest percentage of overweight people in the country? Being overweight has a huge effect on your health and often adds to back pain by putting additional pressure on your back.
Are you aware that if your body does not use the sugars you consume, may be stored in the lower back as "love handles".
When you consider how the body stores extra fat, the link between a poor diet and back pain seems obvious. If your diet might be a factor adding to your back pain, try to cut down on sugar, caffeine and processed foods for a month. Choose healthy food and snacks from lean protein like chicken and eggs and plenty of fresh vegetables. Start small, keep a food log to help you notice changes and let you know if you are on the right track.
Remember: any energy you consume and do not use will be stored as fat.
2 - Do you get the right kinds of exercise?
We all know that we need to keep active: walking, running and just moving around. Do you even consider doing exercise to improve flexibility? Flexible joints and muscles help prevent injuries. Exercises to develop flexibility are not top of mind for most of us; but they are important for your health.
The real value of stretching before and after exercise is to break down the lactic acid that builds up during exercise.
If you're experiencing more stiffness with exercise and stretching a few minutes after the workout does not feel good or relieve the stiffness, the stretches might not be the right ones for you. Depending on the ways we use our bodies every day, the body may develop imbalances between the muscles. Tight muscles tend to shorten and weak muscles tend to lengthen.
To ensure that you are doing the right exercises for you, consult with a professional. A physiotherapist is trained to analyze the way the body moves and to maintain healthy balance within the muscles and joints of the body.
3 - If your back hurts, check your mattress!
You may be surprised to learn how old your mattress really is! A mattress has a very specific life span. You need to replace your mattresses every 10 years or so (depending on the particular mattress you use).
What does an old mattress have to do with back pain? Even the best quality, supportive mattress will show wear with use. Springs loosen up and foam breaks down. If your mattress is 10 years or older, you may need a replacement.
Not ready for the replacement? Here are some ways to use pillows as props to help support your back while you are sleeping:
Side-sleeper? Place a pillow between your legs for support. This helps align your hip joints and your low back.
Sleep on your back? Pop a pillow or two under your feet to change the position of your spine when you sleep. This provides more support for your back.
So there you have it! Poor diet, inadequate exercise and an old mattress are three every-day sources of back pain. If you are serious about living a full healthy life, you need to start building healthy habits now.
Few people notice their lifestyle habits and pay no attention to the details because they don't see how what they eat, how they move, and what they sleep on, can affect their back pain.
So please, don't make the mistake that so many other people make. Pay attention and implement these small changes into your daily routine today!
If your back continues to hurt or these small changes only help for a while, there may be something else going on. Check in with our physiotherapist for a thorough assessment. If you are struggling with diet and it has affected your health, a trusted Naturopathic Physician can help.
When it comes to your health, catching the problem early makes all the difference in creating a successful treatment outcome.