You know to lift with your legs, not your back. You know to stretch, practice yoga or go for walks to keep your back feeling good. You know to have good posture during the day, whether seated or standing. But did you know there are some sneaky issues that can lead to back pain?
Many are aware of the common causes of back pain. Unfortunately, there are a myriad of causes of back pain and this can include small things you may not even realize can lead to back pain. Check out part 1 of this series here.
One common back ailment is “throwing out your back.” However, we now know that this injury does not happen in a single, isolated incident. You may experience sudden, sharp pain due to a specific bending incident. The lower back is most commonly affected by this type of pain. The causes include muscle spasms, arthritis, and less commonly, a herniated disc. This pain, however, is not just from this one time. Most likely, the injury built up over time. Muscles that are overworked can spasm, causing pain. Arthritis or wear and tear can put pressure on joints, which then develop inflammation and can be injured. The best course of treatment for this type of back pain and injury is to lie flat on your stomach, ice the affected area, and take an anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen. If the pain does not go away for a few days, it’s time to see a physician.
Muscles play a big role in back pain, as does exercise. When one muscle is stronger than its opposing muscle, there is an imbalance. This imbalance could come from doing too much of a certain exercise, balancing a child on only one hip, and so on. This imbalance can also lead to back pain. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), people who don’t exercise regularly often have weak core muscles that don’t do a great job of supporting the spine. But, those who adopt a “weekend warrior” approach, doing vigorous exercise on the weekends and avoiding exercise during the week, are even more likely to have back pain. The best approach is to avoid back pain is to lead a more active lifestyle, even by just increasing how much walking you do.
Another sneaky cause of back pain is wearing high heels. In the quest to be fashionable and feel good, women may be doing more damage than good. According to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), high heels alter the balanced position of a person’s body. When a woman wears high heels, a new equilibrium occurs and throws off the body’s proper balance. Over time, the calf muscle can be shortened because it is contracted when wearing heels. If a person is standing barefoot, they are completely balanced. By adding heels, the balance is off. Wearing heels over a long period of time can cause lingering foot pain, as well as back pain.
And ladies should also think twice before carrying that large, heavy tote bag. Carrying a bag that weighs more than 10% of your body weight can cause improper balance. If the bag’s weight is not balanced, as in slung over one shoulder, this interferes with your body’s natural movement. The ACA recommends that if you are carrying a heavy shoulder bag, to switch sides often. They also recommend using a purse with a wide, adjustable strap. This strap should be long enough to put over your head, evenly distributing the weight across the body.
There are so many different possible causes of back pain. It is important to try and get to the root of your back pain, but that isn’t always possible. If you are in pain, contact us. Or call our dedicated Medical Concierge at 800-890-1964.