“Oh my back is killing me!”
For most people, back pain is such a common feature and ailment in their lives that they simply assume that it is normal and they don’t seek medical attention when they should.
In this post, we will be going over the causes of back pain, what you can do on a daily basis to prevent it from happening and what you should do if you find yourself experiencing back pain that just won’t go away.
Common Causes of Back Pain
Back pain can be caused by:
- Improper posture for employees who mainly have to sit for their jobs.
- Lifting up heavy objects without the right support and with body movements that put strain on your back.
- The presence of another serious health condition. Conditions like spondylolisthesis, (a condition where a bone in the spine slips out of place), arthritis, kidney stones and fibromyalgia can contribute to back pain.
- Getting older.
- Excess weight
- Race- African American women are 2-3 times more likely to have a bone slip out of place in their spine than women of other races.
Most back pain goes away on its’ own. Or at the very least will go away with painkillers. If the back pain you are experiencing however persists for at least 3 months, you should see a doctor for help. We’ll delve into this a little later.
For now, let’s talk about how you can prevent and minimize the occurrence of back pain. According to the American Osteopathic Association, prevention is the best cure for back pain. Thus in the points below, you will notice a great emphasis on prevention.
- If you have a job that requires that you sit at a desk all day, it is important for you to get off your seat every 1-2 hours and take a short walk or stretch. There are people who have even opted to have standing desks so that they can alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day.
- Use a chair that supports your back and neck. A chair that is adjustable and which has a neck rest is great for helping you get into a position that is comfortable while you’re at work. If your chair does not have a neck rest, you can roll up a towel or scarf to support your neck.
- When you sit at your desk at work, don’t slouch. Sit up straight.
- Use proper lifting technique. When you bend to pick an object, bend your knees first and pick up the object using your body weight instead of using the muscles in your back.
- Daily exercise is well-known to help reduce the incidence of back pain. Exercise will also help with weight loss if excess weight is the cause of the back pain.
- Perform exercises that strengthen your back muscles 2-3 times per week. Check out this video for 6 exercises you can do to promote a healthy back.
- Don’t “push through the pain”. If you are exercising or involved in a physical activity and begin to feel severe back pain, stop immediately.
- Wear comfortable, low heeled shoes.
- Sleep on a firm to medium firm mattress to prevent curvatures when you sleep.
- Avoid prolonged inactivity or bedrest.
What To Do If You’re Experiencing Chronic Back Pain
If you experience back pain that lasts 3 months or longer, your back pain is chronic and it is important you see a doctor for a check-up, possible diagnosis and therapy. An estimated 65 million Americans suffer from chronic back pain. This is an alarming number of people!
It is important you pay attention to chronic back pain because as we saw above, back pain could also be the symptom of a pressing medical issue that needs attention. It is likely that when you visit the doctor complaining of back pain you will be asked if there are any other symptoms you have experienced recently to rule out the presence of severe medical issues.
A computerized tomography (CT scan) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be needed to see if there is an irregularity with your spine. In extreme cases, surgery might be needed to fix the underlying issue which ultimately should help with the back pain.
A chiropractor or doctor of osteopathic medicine may also come into the picture to help with techniques that manipulate the muscles and help relieve back pain.
Back pain is such a common problem that most people think they cannot avoid it. However, if you commit to using proper posture and body mechanics you can reduce the incidence of back pain significantly. It is also important that if you’re experiencing chronic pain you talk to your doctor about it so any underlying issue can be addressed.
If you found this post useful, consider sharing it with someone else and let’s overcome back pain together.