Pain Management, Spine Surgery

February 18, 2016

Everyday Habits That Are Causing Your Back Pain


Back pain is not always caused by injury or illness. There could be several normal daily habits causing your back pain that you can adjust or eliminate to give you relief.

From bending over to standing up, your back helps you perform countless movements on a regular basis. Constant use can result in the deterioration of your muscles, soft tissue, and other structures in your back over time, which can lead to recurring or persistent back pain. In fact, there are several chronic back pain causes that are linked to things you do on a daily basis.

Sitting Too Much
Spending too much of your day sitting instead of being physically active can lead to stiffness and pain in your back. Your body needs regular exercise to keep your muscles and joints strong and flexible. If you spend several hours per day sitting at a desk or on your couch while you are at home, your back muscles will become tense and sore from underuse.

While exercising may seem counterintuitive when you have back pain, movement is key for pain relief. Doing stretching exercises helps strengthen and ease tension in your back muscles, which can help reduce back pain. Other forms of physical activity, such as running or swimming, can also help strengthen your back and lower your risk of experiencing stiffness and pain.

Eating an Unhealthy Diet
The foods you eat on a regular basis can have a significant impact on your chronic back pain. When your diet includes high amounts of unhealthy foods and low amounts of nutritious ones, your spine does not receive the nutrients it needs.

An unhealthy diet can also lead to weight gain, which puts added pressure on your spine. Focus on including healthy foods in your diet that provide your spine with the nutrients it needs to reduce inflammation, including:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Lean meats
  • Eggs
  • Milk

In addition to eating more of these foods, you should also cut down on your caffeine intake and limit or avoid eating processed foods as much as possible. Processed sugar has been linked to inflammation, and highly processed snacks cause weight gain.

Slouching at Your Desk
When you sit behind a desk all day long, you can develop a habit of slouching in your chair, especially if you work on a computer. Since sitting is more stressful for your back than standing, this can lead to chronic pain. Slouching and being inactive while at your desk does not provide your spine with the movement it needs to stay flexible and well lubricated, which can result in added wear and tear on your spine.

You can correct this sedentary lifestyle by getting into the habit of sitting up straight at your desk, making sure that you are sitting in a chair that offers lumbar support, and keeping your head straight when you work on your computer. You should also get into the habit of standing up and moving around at least once an hour, rather than remaining seated for hours at a time.

Poor Driving Posture
While slouching at your desk can cause back pain at work, keep in mind that driving to and from work could also be causing your chronic back pain. If you are in the habit of leaning forward as you drive, your back muscles can become tense. You can break this habit and form a more positive one by sitting up straight when you are behind the wheel. Move your seat forward as needed to comfortably reach your steering wheel, brakes, and gas pedal.

If your back pain is not solved by lifestyle changes and better habits, make an appointment with an experienced neurosurgeon who can recommend the correct treatment plan.

To set up an appointment to evaluate your chronic back pain causes, contact Arkansas Surgical Hospital at 877-918-7020. Our neurosurgeons can help you determine the best course of treatment to relieve your pain.

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