According to the American Chiropractic Association, 31 million Americans experience lower back pain at any given time. It’s considered the single leading cause of disability worldwide. Many people who experience back pain aren’t quite sure where it stems from. It turns out that many activities in your day-to-day routine can put you at risk for back problems, pain and injury. If you often experience back pain, a simple lifestyle change may help alleviate the problem.
Here are seven everyday activities that harm your back and how to prevent them:
1. LIFTING HEAVY OBJECTS
Lifting heavy objects, even if it’s just for a moment, can cause back problems if you don’t lift correctly. Bending incorrectly at your back can strain your back muscles and cause back pain.
Try this: When lifting heavy objects, squat then pick up the object. Bending at the waist can cause injury.
2. PROLONGED SITTING
If your career requires you to sit for long periods of time, it can be tough to get your exercise in. But prolonged sitting can cause back pain and increase your chances of injury.
Try this: Perform simple stretching exercises at your desk and get up from your chair every once in a while to walk around the office and stretch your legs.
3. IMPROPER STRETCHING
Doing yoga or other forms of stretching can lead to back pain when it’s done incorrectly. Improper stretching also puts your muscles at risk for injury.
Try this: The first time you try yoga, make sure you let a trained instructor teach you how to perform the proper positions.
4. POOR POSTURE
Whether you’re sitting at your desk, watching T.V. on texting on your phone, make sure you’re implementing good posture. Hunching puts pressure on the back of the spine, which can easily cause back pain.
Try this: Sit up straight to keep your spine from bending. Check your posture regularly to prevent long periods of hunching.
5. CARRYING HEAVY BAGS
Constantly carrying around a heavy briefcase, purse or backpack is bound to elicit back problems. It puts pressure on your shoulders, arms and back and can lead to an imbalance in the body.
Try this: If your bag is heavy, always carry it over both of your shoulders like a backpack. If your bag has one strap, carry it over your shoulder with proper posture to lower the chances of straining your back.
6. SLEEPING ON VERY SOFT MATTRESSES
While a soft mattress might sound nice and comfy, a mattress that is too soft isn’t able to provide proper support for your back. It can cause a slight shift in the shape of the spine, which stresses the muscles, ligaments and joints.
Try this: Choose a mattress that’s not too firm and not too soft.
7. DRIVING ON UNEVEN ROADS
As odd as it might seem, driving on uneven roads can put pressure on your back, especially if you’re driving for long periods of time. Those bumps can end up taking a toll on your spine.
Try this: Take frequent breaks when traveling long distances to ease the pressure on your back. Be sure to adjust your seat properly before driving.