Back pain is one of the most common complaints among Americans today. Even though there are many causes of chronic back pain, many people are doing simple things everyday that compound into unbearable pain later. Take a look at the following list to see whether you are inadvertently causing yourself back pain (and should maybe see a chiropractic professional).
Using A Laptop On Your Lap
You're probably comfortable checking your email or working from home sitting on the couch with your laptop and a cup of coffee, but your back doesn't agree. Sitting with the laptop on the lap naturally creates bad posture. When typing with a laptop on your lap:
- your shoulders naturally hunch forward. You need to look down, and reach your arms out in order to type. The neck also has to support the head in a forward position, which strains the trapezius muscles-- the muscle bars that sit above the shoulders but below the neck.
- you start to slouch, which removes the natural curve of the spine. As you continue working, you will slouch down, curving the lower spine out and placing increased pressure on the lower back. Over time, people who type in this position will develop a sore neck and consistent lower back pain as they work without lumbar support.
Doing The Wrong Ab Workouts
It's important to work your abs in order to get sufficient core strength-- in fact, having a strong core can prevent back pain because the abdominal muscles will help to stabilize movement through the spine. However, many people work the abs incorrectly, placing intense force on the back.
Sit ups, for example, are one of the worst exercises for the spine. They force the natural curve of of the spine to the floor and increase pressure on the hip flexors. As this muscles tighten, they begin to pull at muscles in the back, leading to intense lower back pain.
To strengthen core strength in a healthy manner, it's better to so exercises that keep the stomach toward the ground, like planks with leg lifts.
Wearing High Heels
Sit ups may flatten out the natural curve of the spine, but wearing heels does the opposite. It causes the spine to over-curve in order to compensate for the artificial tilt that heels provide. The foot should not be elevated in this way, because it eventually causes the muscles in the back and legs to shorten, and it can can make the tendons in the foot stiff and inflexible. As the body adapts to heel wearing, muscle spasms in the back and legs become more common. You are also at a greater risk for injury because the shifting of weight makes you more prone to falls.
Wearing A Heavy Backpack
Students have a hard life, but their backs probably take the worst hit during long school days. Nearly 1 out of 5 students see a doctor for back pain during schools, and doctors believe that heavy packs are the cause. Carrying too much weight in bag on the back causes the body to overcompensate by leaning forward, which strains the shoulders, the neck, and puts more stress on the curve of the spine. When you need to carry a pack for school or work:
- choose packs with two straps, a chest strap, and a waist belt.
- never sling the bag over one shoulder. This puts even great pressure on the spine, and makes it more likely that you will cause injury to yourself because the body is not properly aligned.
- try to carry less weight, especially if you are not very heavy. Heavier people can handle a heavier load, but to be on the safe side, keep your pack as light as possible, even if you have to carry some books in your arms. Your pack should never be more than 20% of your body weight