Welcome back! According to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), back pain is one of the most common reasons why workers across all industries miss work. The ACA also reports that more than 80 percent of Americans will experience some form of back pain in their lives. In part one of our two-part series, we looked at some of the everyday activities that can contribute to upper, mid, and lower back pain. Some of the most common causes of back pain in Dallas TX include:
Lifting light and heavy objects and lifting objects incorrectly.
Performing frequent, repetitive motions.
Sitting frequently and for extended periods of time.
Back injuries from work, auto accidents, sports injuries, and personal injuries.
Engaging in physical activities on the weekend without the proper preparation.
Working at a computer
In our last post, we mentioned that sitting for long periods of time can contribute to lower back pain and hip pain. Working in front of a computer all day can also cause severe upper and mid-back pain. While working at the computer, people tend to tense up their neck and shoulders, which can cause incredible discomfort in your neck, back, and shoulders. If you notice your shoulders are tucked up under your earlobes as you work at your computer, take a minute to drop your shoulders, take a few deep breaths, and do a few light neck and shoulder stretches. Simply bow your head forward as if you're touching your chin to your chest, and slowly and gently roll your head to the right, back to the center, and then to left. This will give your neck, shoulders, and upper back a break from tensing up as you work.
Stress, Stress, and More Stress
While stress is pretty much unavoidable, it is one of the worst contributors to back pain. Many patients we see tend to hold stress in their bodies, especially in their necks, shoulders, and backs. As a result, stress often tightens and tenses the muscles in your back, which, ultimately, triggers back pain. If you are already experiencing back pain, stress can make it worse. Then, of course, worrying about the pain you're in only adds to the stress you may already be experiencing. Receiving wellness care such as chiropractic and massage therapy, staying active, eating right, and getting plenty of sleep can help you manage your stress.
Weight gain is significantly linked to back pain. Those who are overweight or obese are more likely to suffer from lower back pain, as the excess weight carried in the midsection places additional pressure and stress on the lumbar spine. While any weight gain can cause you to experience pain and discomfort in your back, a quick and significant weight gain can affect the joints and soft tissues in the lower back and pelvis. Maintaining a healthy diet and exercising can help you control your weight, which can help reduce back pain.
Awkward Sleeping Positions
Your sleep positions affect the health of your back. This means bad news for belly-sleepers, as this is the worst position to sleep in and is one of the worst contributors to both neck and lower back pain. One study suggests that stomach sleepers also experience restlessness and frequent tossing and turning, which can intensify your back pain. While this is one of the least popular sleeping positions, a good rule of thumb is to sleep on your back with a pillow or some other support tucked under your knees to reduce the pressure on your lower back. Sleeping on your side is also fine. In fact, sleeping on your side is actually good for those who suffer from lower back pain. If you prefer to sleep on your side, make sure to use a supportive head pillow designed specifically for side-sleepers. Additionally, place a pillow between your knees to support a healthy spine and hip posture.
It is much more comfortable for most to sit and stand in a slouched position; however, having poor posture enhances muscle strain and places much more stress on the spine. Try to avoid slouching your shoulders and spine while standing and sitting, and when standing, keep your knees slightly bent to minimize pressure on the spine and lower back. Try to correct any sitting or standing positions that may feel comfortable, but which may also lead to muscle strain, joint discomfort, and additional pressure on your spine.
If you want to learn more about how to enhance your back health and avoid falling into bad habits that contribute to back pain, or would like to schedule an appointment for chiropractic care, call mend. We are here to help residents living in and around Dallas improve and maintain their back health so that they can live life to its fullest. Contact us today for quality chiropractic care!