Low back pain is a fact of life for many of us. We all deal with it every once in a while. As a matter of fact, about 80% of adults get low back pain, according to the American Chiropractic Association.
The lumbar spine, or what we all know as the low back, is perhaps the most overused part of the back as it carries most of the body’s weight. It consists of five vertebrae; all connect to ligaments, joints, and muscles. They join forces to provide stability and flexibility to the back. There are also nerves around the lumbar spine, such as the sciatic nerve. This nerve has nerve roots that branch out of the spinal cord.
Risk Factors for Low Back Pain and Sciatica
Some risk factors we can act on toward curtailing, while others are unfortunately non-modifiable and beyond our control. Here’s a quick list of the risk factors that are within our realm of control.
Children and adults alike are guilty of putting too much stuff in their bags that they bring around when they go to school or work every day. Children can have overloaded knapsacks, while adults tend to stack too many items in their bag, purse, or briefcase. This can cause a postural problem over time if you always carry your bag over one shoulder or on one side of your body.
Obesity, being overweight, and even a quick weight gain over a short period can add stress on your lower back, leading to undesirable pain.
Men and women living a sedentary life are at greater risk of developing backache than people who exercise. The beauty of exercise is it develops and increases your core strength, providing better support to your low back. In addition, strength training and weight-bearing exercise make the bones stronger and keep the intervertebral discs in good health. Lack of regular exercise makes a person more prone to wear and tear and back injury. Go easy in the beginning. You can have short walks for 30 minutes every day as an initial goal.
While every job comes with potential risks, physically demanding jobs that require a person to lift, pull, push, or bend repeatedly can result in back problems and pain. These movements can hurt (and worse damage) your back if you’re using the wrong technique or form. Those that work desk jobs are not exempted from the threats of back pain either. Sitting for long hours combined with poorly set up workstation can lead to back muscle strain, discomfort, and pain
Non-Modifiable Risk Factors for Low Back Pain
Unfortunately, some risk factors for low back pain are unavoidable. However, there are steps you can make to at least manage them.
When pregnant, a woman’s center of gravity shifts, placing more strain on the back’s spine and tissues. As a result, most women deal with low back pain during pregnancy, often more severe in the last trimester as the baby in the womb continues to grow.
Parents or siblings cannot pass on back pain to their children or siblings. However, some health conditions that cause back pain like ankylosing spondylitis are hereditary. Therefore, self-care is vital to help minimize the influence genetics hold over your chance to develop degenerative disorders.
If you make bad habits that hurt your back or continuously neglect your spine, you will likely experience low back pain and spinal problems when you get older. In addition, you can lose bone density and strength without proper nutrition and exercise.
Anxiety, stress, and depression can intensify pain in the body, including low back pain. Stress can tense the muscles, which easily leads to back pain. It is inevitable, but with proper stress coping mechanisms, such as walking, meditation, or winding down with a relaxing bath, you can get through stressful events in your life better. This reduces your risk of developing chronic backache.
Reducing Your Back Pain Risk With Upper Cervical Chiropractic
It may come as a surprise to you that having your neck examined for misalignment by an upper cervical chiropractor can be the backache fix you’ve been seeking. Upper cervical chiropractic does things differently to address the underlying cause of back pain. By taking a top-down approach, you can get to the root of your pain.
If you’re wondering how taking care of the neck can reduce your lower back pain, let us explain the mechanism. The atlas, which is the topmost bone in the neck, supports the head’s weight. In short, it is the most flexible part of the whole spine, making it prone to misaligning. When the atlas shifts out of its position, the misalignment forces the rest of the spine to compensate.
This is the reason why when you look in the mirror, you might notice your head tilted a little, shoulders uneven, and one hip lower than the other. These disparities can put stress on your spinal joints, leading to back pain.
By correcting atlas misalignment, you can get rid of the adverse impacts of compensation that can be causing your back pain. Upper cervical chiropractors make gentle and precise adjustments to restore your atlas’ normal alignment so that your spine and the whole body can heal and stay healthy.