According to researchers, more than 80% of people are going to struggle with back pain at some point. Coping with back pain sends people to try everything from therapeutic massage to over-the-counter pain relievers. We’re going to look at 8 things that lead to back pain, some of which are easily avoided. Then we will consider a natural way that many people are finding relief from chronic back issues.
#1 Gaining Weight
Putting on weight is tough on the joints, especially the knees. But the spine can suffer as well. A person who recently gained weight may be surprised at how much better his or her back feels once those pounds come back off. If you struggle with back pain, be sure to manage your weight so it doesn’t add to the problem.
#2 A Sedentary Lifestyle
While this goes hand in hand with gaining weight, a person doesn’t have to be heavy to be in pain if he or she isn’t exercising with any sort of regularity. First of all, exercise gets the joints moving and keeps them from stiffening. Second, core exercise strengthens the muscles that support the spine. Without these muscles, your spine is holding up the weight of the body on its own. So don’t underestimate the value of a good core routine.
#3 Your Bed and the Way You Sleep
An old mattress or worn out pillows can be to blame for back problems. The issue, however, could also be related to your sleep position. If you sleep on your back, that is the best position for your neck, but it could be placing a strain on your lower back. Try sleeping with a pillow behind your knees as elevating the knees a little will take the pressure off of your lower back.
Side sleepers are in a good position for the entire spine but keeping a pillow between your knees is an important way to keep your back from twisting during the night. Stomach sleepers are in the worst situation because your neck is basically turned to the side all night long. The best option for stomach sleepers is to learn to sleep in another position.
#4 Shoes that Don’t Have Enough Support
Worn out shoes or uncomfortable shoes can lead to back pain. We know that fashion sometimes has its costs, but spine health is too high of a price for a nice-looking pair of shoes that throws off your entire posture.
#5 A Heavy Purse, Backpack, Etc.
A heavy bag can put a strain on the body and affect posture, especially if it is carried over just one arm. Be sure to wear shoulder bags as high as you can so the weight isn’t pulling your shoulder down to your side. Don’t overload backpacks and be sure to wear them over both shoulders to evenly distribute the weight. Backpacks that have a waist and chest strap are the best for heavier loads since these distribute the weight even further.
If you are a smoker and are dealing with back pain, now you have one more reason to quit. Smoking affects blood circulation, and that can make it tougher for the body to heal. It also can affect how well your body absorbs calcium, a necessity for healthy bones. As a result, smokers are more likely to suffer from back problems and show more signs of disc degeneration.
#7 Head or Neck Trauma
Injuries often lead to long-term back pain. Whiplash-type injuries, in particular, can affect the upper spine. Since spinal health flows from the top down, this can lead to pain throughout the back. Head injuries such as concussions are also likely to affect the neck and thus the entire spine. If you are suffering from post-concussion syndrome following an injury, it is particularly important to have the upper cervical spine examined by a specialist.
Mental stress or trauma can also have a powerful effect on the spine. Stress can lead to weight gain, which we have already discussed can have a negative impact on the back. It also builds tension in the neck and between the shoulder blades. This tension can cause muscle strain and misalignments, leading to further pain and degeneration of the spine.
Finding Natural Relief from Back Pain
If you are suffering from back pain, regardless of which of the above reasons may have been the initial cause, it is time to seek the care of an upper cervical chiropractor. Why see a specialist who focuses on the top two bones of the neck if the pain is in your upper, middle, or even lower back?
As we mentioned earlier, spine health flows from the top down. Since the top bones of the spine balance the head, even the slightest misalignment will result in compensations throughout the spine to keep the eyes level with the horizon. Wherever the greatest compensations take place is where the pain will generally occur. This is more often in the lower back since each compensation going down the spine is usually greater than the one above it.
Some patients even exhibit symptoms of sciatica due to a misalignment in the upper neck. Once the initial misalignment is corrected with a precise, gentle, and long-lasting adjustment, the body has time to heal, and the spine may be able to correct itself resulting in less pain. Finding an upper cervical practitioner in your local area is the first step.