80% of us experience back pain at some point in our lives. While back pain may develop naturally with age, it’s most often the result of bad habits that could lead to unnecessary strain on the spine or back muscles. Here are just 7 ways in which you could be damaging your back and what you can do to prevent his damage.
Poor posture is the most common cause of back pain. Many people have a tendency to stoop their neck while standing – especially taller people. Meanwhile, many people have a tendency to slouch forward when sat at a desk. It’s much better to keep the back straight as slouching causes more strain on the spine. Improving posture isn’t easy as it’s something we do without thinking about it. This guide to improving posture could be worth reading for a few tips on how to stop slouching.
Sleeping on your front
Of all the sleeping positions, sleeping on your front has the worst impact on your back. The healthiest sleeping position is to sleep on your back as this keeps the spine in a natural position. If you can only sleep on your front, then the next best alternative is to sleep with a pillow under your stomach to try and keep your back straight.
Wearing heels regularly can put a huge amount of pressure on the lower back. This can lead to lower back pain later in life. Wearing heels occasionally is unlikely to have much of an impact, but you may want to think about wearing flats more often if you wear heels every day.
Carrying a bag on one shoulder
It’s not just your heels that could be damaging your back – your handbag could be causing damage too. While a light bag may not have much impact, a heavy bag is likely to throw your muscles off balance, putting stress on your spine. If you regularly only wear your bag on one shoulder, this could be causing long-term stress on your spine. Try to regularly alter which shoulder you carry your bag on. Alternatively, wear a backpack on both shoulder and spread the load.
Bad form when heavy lifting
Lifting heavy objects incorrectly can also damage your back. A lot of people keep their legs straight and bend at the waist, when in fact you should always bend your legs and keep your back straight. Such back injuries are common at work – fortunately, if you have suffered an injury, you’ll usually eligible for compensation and you may possibly be able to use a worker’s compensation surgeon to correct the injury. Heavy lifting injuries may also occur at the gym if you’re using the wrong form when doing a deadlift.
Being overweight could also increase your chances of back pain. Carrying extra weight around the stomach and waist puts extra pressure on the lower spine. Over time, this can lead to permanent lower back pain. All in all, it could be another motivation to try and shed a few pounds.
Smoking has also been strongly linked with back pain. It increases the risk of osteoporosis – a bone-thinning disease – which can cause the spine to become weaker. Smoking also damages arteries around the body, including those in the discs. It’s another good reason to give up the cigarettes.