7 Causes of Low Back Pain & How to Stop the Pain
Most people have back pain at some point in their lives. Most of the time, back pain symptoms aren’t due to a serious health issue such as arthritis or a fracture. In fact, the culprit could be as innocent as your mattress or your favorite pair of shoes.
If you experience back pain after an injury or if your back pain is severe or lasts more than a few days, see your doctor. In the meantime, be aware that some of your everyday habits could be contributing to your pain.
CAUSE #1: YOU IGNORE YOUR CORE
Your core supports all of your movements. It is composed of your back, side, pelvic, and buttock muscles and they all work together, along with your abs, to allow you to bend, twist, rotate, and stand upright.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT: Keep those muscles in top shape to support your spine with simple core exercises — lunges, squats, planks, and others — that will strengthen several spine-supporting muscle groups at once.
CAUSE #2: YOU’RE STRESS OUT
Many people hold emotional stress in their muscles, especially the muscles of the neck and shoulders. You might know this stress as a tension headache that starts in
the back of your neck and moves up and down from there. What actually causes the pain? Well, normally, blood flows through the muscles of your neck and back with very little resistance. However, when you are emotionally stressed, certain muscles may tense up and squeeze these blood vessels. Like a garden hose with a kink in it, the flow of blood can get constricted or even cut off by these tense muscles. When your neck and back are not getting their proper blood supply, they let you know it with pain.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT: Try mood enhancers like exercise, meditation, yoga, and deep breathing; they can help ease stress and make you feel better.
CAUSE #3: YOUR MATTRESS
Regardless of your slumber sweet spot, go with a medium mattress and a pillow that keeps your head in line with your spine. Research has shown that people with chronic low-back pain who slept on medium mattresses had fewer aches after three months than those who slept on firm beds.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT: Your bed should be not too hard (this wreaks havoc on hips and shoulders) and not too soft (this puts your back and joints out of whack).
CAUSE #4: YOU SMOKE
Smoking isn’t just bad for your heart and lungs! Smokers have a higher incidence of recurring back problems for many reasons. Nicotine restricts blood flow to vertebrae and disks, so they may age and break down more quickly. It also interferes with the body’s ability to absorb and use calcium, leading to osteoporosis-related bone and back problems. Smoking deprives cells all over your body of oxygen, even those in your back. Studies show that smokers are more than twice as likely to develop lower back pain as those who have never smoked.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT: Quit.
CAUSE #5: YOUR SHOES
We all have heard that sky-high stilettos are a no-no, but it turns out that our favorite summer sandals and flip-flops can cause trouble, too. They provide little, if any, arch support which over time can lead to back, knee, and foot problems.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT: Alternate styles throughout the week — from high to low, sneakers to sandals — and avoid wearing a particular pair every day. Shoes should also fit properly and offer good arch and heel support. So, go shoe shopping!
CAUSE #6: YOUR POSTURE
Poor posture and slumped shoulders also factor among back pain causes. Your ears should be over your shoulders, your shoulders over your hip joints, and your hips over your ankles. With everyone now staring at their phones and devices most of the day, this is a growing cause of neck and back pain.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT: Make a conscious effort to maintain good posture during the day to ease or help prevent back pain. Take a break from electronic devices.
CAUSE #7: YOUR INACTIVE LIFESTYLE
Physical inactivity coupled with a high body mass index (BMI) increases the risk of having chronic lower back pain and neck pain. With so many of us sitting at computers all day, in our cars, talking and texting on our phones, and in front of our TVs, it’s no wonder that we have higher BMIs and lower physical activity. But that can be remedied easily.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT: Exercise gives you the muscle tone needed to support your back and keep it pain-free. Your bones need the strength of your muscles and ligaments to keep them in place. Keeping your back tight and strong with exercise will help you avoid back pain. Low-impact activities like walking and swimming boost blood flow to back muscles while relieving pain and stiffness. Yoga can also be a very effective because of its emphasis on stretching and strengthening. A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine reported that after three months of weekly yoga sessions, 60 percent of back-pain sufferers reported less discomfort, and 40 percent were able to cut back on pain meds.
ABOUT MICHIGAN SPORTS & SPINE CENTER:
We’re innovative leaders utilizing cutting-edge technologies such as musculoskeletal ultrasounds, PRP, stem cell treatment, and other innovative procedures. Michigan Sports & Spine Center is committed to resolving your pain, not simply masking it. We treat the whole body, not just the injury, and perform preventative treatment so your injury doesn’t come back. Our studies prove that Michigan Sports & Spine Center has patient success rates much higher than the national average. We treat everyone from high-profile athletes to your neighbor next door. Our primary focus is getting our patients back into the game of life!