Back pain is an all too common affliction. It seems everyone has experienced it on some level and many people suffer from chronic symptoms. So, why is it so widespread? It’s nothing to do with evolution or our general health as a species. What mainly causes back pain, unfortunately, are every day unavoidable activities.
Simply sitting for extended periods of time causes back pain. This is particularly true if you have a desk job. The chairs we’re provided at our offices aren’t exactly top of the line so chances are, you’re not getting the support you need to be sitting for so long. If you’re sitting a lot that means that you’re likely working at a computer as well. Having your hands extended in front of you all day long puts strain on all areas of your back and shoulders. The position your computer is in also effects your comfort levels.
The best thing to do is make sure your workstation is as ergonomic as possible. Invest (or see if your company will) in chairs which provide adequate lumbar support. Adjust your computer so that its an arm’s length away and so that you’re slightly looking down at it or invest in a standing desk for your back. This will help with undo neck strain. Don’t forget to get moving once in a while. Even if it’s just for a few minutes, walking around periodically will help stave off stiffness.
Many of the issues with sitting also stand for driving. Driving can cause back pain for a few reasons. First, your arms are extended in front of you for extended periods of time. This is bound to get those shoulders burning. Second, our car seats are not one size fits all. You may find that you’re slightly off center with one half of your body on the edge of a bucket seat. This causes hip and spinal discomfort. You can prevent some of these issues by being sure your seat and steering wheel are adjusted properly and that you’re not sitting on anything, like your wallet, which will prevent your hips from sitting evenly.
Carrying heavy bags or backpacks
This one is difficult to get away from. Carrying heavy bags or backpacks are huge contributors to chronic back pain. Transporting laptops, books and diaper bags are a part of our daily lives. While we’d like to say you should simply lighten the load, that’s not always going to be realistic.
There are a few things you can do to better your situation, including:
- Carry a backpack over a single shoulder bag
- Choose a bag with wider straps
- Don’t let the bag ride too low-adjust the backpack properly
- Don’t carry the bag for long periods of time
- Carry fewer items in your bags
The curled position we put ourselves in when looking at our phones wreaks havoc on our neck and spine and the condition is known as text neck. Text neck is caused by the prolonged bending of the neck exacerbated by the weight of the head. We put ourselves in this position often, even when not texting. Reading, washing dishes, or even playing with our children put our upper spine in similar positions. The best way to prevent this is to try and keep personal devices at eye level.
If you’re active and play sports or regularly hit the gym, you’re likely suffering from some musculoskeletal issues due to athletic activity. We would never tell you to stop exercising, but if you are experiencing discomfort it could be because you’re not warming up/cooling down properly or are performing movements improperly.
Every one of these regularly occurring activities can cause pain. The good news is that it can be treated effectively via a chiropractor! If you’re in the Redondo Beach area and in need of some relief, contact Catalina Medical Center today.