Lower back pain is one of the most common health complaints among adults. It can have devastating effects on your quality of life, from limiting your ability to carry out daily activities to hindering your ability to work or exercise. It affects people of all ages and body types, ranging from mild toe-curling discomfort to severe pain that can leave you bedridden and immobile.
For some, the pain is a chronic issue, while for others it can be a temporary and fleeting annoyance. No matter the case, lower back pain can greatly reduce your enjoyment of life and make simply carrying out everyday tasks more difficult.
While many factors can contribute to lower back pain, such as age-related wear and tear, poor posture, and injuries, some of the most common causes are habits that you may not even be aware of.
Here are 8 habits that could be causing you lower back pain:
Not Exercising Regularly
Perhaps the most well-known cause of lower back pain is the lack of exercise. The human body is designed to move, and when it doesn’t get enough physical activity, it can cause the muscles and ligaments of the lower back to become weak and less able to support the spine. To help prevent this, it’s important to do a combination of aerobic activity (such as running or biking) and strength-training exercises that tone and build the muscles of the back and core. This will help strengthen and stabilize your spine, making it more resistant to injury and pain.
Slouching is a major contributor to lower back pain. When you slouch, your spine is no longer in a neutral position, causing misalignment of your spine and tension in your lower back muscles. Slouching also reduces the amount of oxygen that your lower back muscles receive, which can lead to pain.
Sitting for Long Periods of Time
Sitting for long periods of time can be a major contributor to lower back pain. The lack of movement causes your spine to become misaligned, which can lead to changes in the spinal discs and muscles, causing pain.
Not Warming-Up and Cooling-Down Before and After Exercise
Failing to warm up and cool down before and after exercise is one of the most common causes of lower back pain. When you fail to do these, your muscles are not adequately prepared for the physical demands of exercise, leading to strain and back pain.
Sleeping on the Wrong Mattress
Believe it or not, your mattress plays a huge role in your lower back health. If it’s too firm or not supportive enough, it can force your spine out of alignment and lead to pain and stiffness. To help alleviate this, make sure your mattress is comfortable and provides good support for your back. If it’s too soft and doesn’t offer enough support, look into a memory foam or adjustable bed which can allow you to customize the firmness.
Wearing High Heels
High heels may look glamorous and stylish, but they can also wreak havoc on your lower back. Wearing elevated shoes on a regular basis puts the body in an unnatural position and can cause the spine to become misaligned with more weight concentrated in the front of the foot, leading to lower back pain. Try wearing flats instead, or look for shoes with a low heel that aren’t too elevated for everyday use.
Another major cause of lower back pain is poor posture. When you’re sitting or standing in the wrong way, it can put undue strain on the muscles and ligaments of the spine, leading to pain and discomfort over time. To correct this, it’s important to stand and sit up straight. Make sure you’re not slouching or hunching over when seated, and regularly stretch and move throughout the day so that your muscles don’t become tense and stiff.
Lifting Objects Incorrectly
Another common cause of lower back pain is incorrect form when lifting objects. When we lift items that are too heavy for us, or without using the proper technique, it can strain the muscles of the lower back and hips, leading to pain and injury. To help prevent this, use the “powerlifting” technique when lifting heavy items, in which you use your legs to lift and shift the object rather than relying solely on your back.
Excessive bending can cause strain on the lower back muscles, leading to lower back pain. It is important to practice proper lifting and bending techniques to help reduce the strain on your lower back.
Stress can be a major contributor to lower back pain. When you are stressed, your body tenses up, leading to strain and pain in your lower back. It is important to find healthy ways to manage stress to help reduce lower back pain.
Lower back pain can be a real burden on both your physical and mental well-being, but it doesn’t have to be permanent. By making a few small adjustments to your daily habits and lifestyle, you can help to prevent and even alleviate lower back pain. Keeping active, paying attention to your posture, and taking regular breaks can all help to reduce your risk of lower back pain. While it’s easy to neglect your lower back health in favour of more immediate and demanding needs, it’s important to keep in mind that taking care of your lower back can greatly benefit your overall health and well-being. With a few lifestyle adjustments, you can make sure you stay free of lower back pain and enjoy life to the fullest.