Did you know that 80 percent of Americans experience back pain at some point in their life?
Identifying the source of your back pain is the first step to eliminate the discomfort, but that can be easier said than done.
However, it’s likely that some of your everyday habits are causing back pain and making you more susceptible to serious back injuries.
These 10 surprising causes of spinal pain might help you eliminate the source of back pain so you can take the next steps toward a pain-free lifestyle.
1. Poor Posture
Poor posture is one of the most common sources of lower back pain. You may not feel pain in your back after sitting with poor posture all day long, but it can definitely have a long-term effect on your spine.
Sitting in a slouched position can put unnecessary stress on your muscles, joints, and discs. It can also restrict the nerves and blood vessels located in your back.
If you’re experiencing pain that originates in your neck and slowly moves down your spine during the day, chances are, you probably have poor posture.
It’s important to sit straight with your shoulders pulled back and your chin pointed forward as much as possible to eliminate any spinal pain. Also, keep your feet flat on the floor while you sit.
2. Smoking Cigarettes
Smoking isn’t bad just for your lungs and heart. It can also affect your back because it decreases the blood supply to the spinal discs. This can cause those discs to age prematurely, leading to back pain.
This habit also alters the way in which the brain responds to back pain, making your symptoms worse.
3. An Old Mattress
Unfortunately, mattresses wear and tear over time. If you don’t replace them recommended, they can lead to poor support and unnecessary back pain.
A mattress that’s too soft can also cause back pain. Because of this, it’s important to purchase a medium-firm mattress to support your back. If that seems uncomfortable, you can always use a plush mattress pad for increased comfort.
You can identify your mattress as the source of your spinal pain if the pain is the most severe in the morning right after you get out of bed and subsides throughout the day. If your mattress is, in fact, causing your back pain, you can simply replace it and get on with your life pain-free.
4. A Bad Diet
Many people who experience gastrointestinal problems experience back pain as well. The reason for this connection is due to fatty foods causing inflammation.
Try to eliminate foods that are high in fat and processed sugars, such as pastries and sweets. A poor diet may also lead to weight gain, which can put excess pressure on your back and lead to spinal pain.
5. High Stress Levels
Stress not only affects you mentally, but it can impact you physically as well.
Being stressed out and uptight for a long period of time can cause muscle tension in your back, which may lead to aches, pain, and spasms. Physiological pain from stress can often be felt in the lower back, neck, and shoulders.
A few ways to eliminate the daily stress in your life and, ultimately, some of the pressure in your back is to sleep longer at night and practice meditation, yoga, and square breathing. Breath in for four seconds, hold that breath for four seconds, breath out for four seconds, and hold for four seconds.
6. Improper Shoes
Your wardrobe choices might also be causing your spinal pain.
Shoes with high heels can impair your center of gravity, causing you to lean forward when you walk and preventing you from fully extending your calf. This puts unnecessary stress on your spine.
It is also important to replace sensible shoes that are old and worn-out. Their lack of support can lead to spinal pain.
7. Sitting Down All Day
Mobility is key to a pain-free back. The human body is meant for standing, walking, and exercising.
You can eliminate some of that tension by making a point to stand up, stretch, and walk around every hour. This can be as simple as walking to the water fountain or taking a 10-minute walk outside during your lunch break. You can even go as far as asking your boss for standing desks.
8. Heavy Shoulder Bags
Tossing a heavy purse over your shoulder can put excess pressure on your spine, which may cause the natural curve in your spine to shift. This can lead to both back and neck pain.
It’s more practical to use a trendy backpack as opposed to a heavy tote because it disperses the weight onto your shoulders evenly.
Next time you head out of the house, make an effort to remove the unnecessary supplies in your bag so you can give your spine and shoulders a break. If this doesn’t help, a cervical spine stimulator can be a great solution too.
9. You Skip Core Workouts
Skipping your core workouts could be your lower back’s worst nightmare.
Your core muscles assist in supporting your spine and your posture. If your core is weak, it can force your lower back to work twice as hard, putting excess strain on your muscles.
Include simple ab workouts in your exercise routine to strengthen your core and eliminate extra work for your back.
10. Spending Too Much Time on Your Smartphone
Also known as text neck, this modern day back diagnosis results from spending too many hours hunched over a smartphone.
If you’re experiencing pain in your upper back and/or tightness in your shoulders, there’s a chance you’re spending too many hours with your neck angled downwards.
Of course, this also occurs from reading and working on a computer, but having a smartphone only adds to those countless hours. This new(er) media device is pushing people’s spinal activity to new limits, and it’s thought to cause permanent spinal damage and neck pain in today’s children.
Identifying the Source of Spinal Pain
Spinal pain can stem from many sources, including accidents, genetics, or any of these surprising causes. Whether you’re already experiencing back pain and are looking for a way to alleviate it or you simply want to prevent it, paying attention to these surprising sources could do wonders for your back.
For more articles related to this topic, take a look at our health and wellness articles!