Eight out of ten people will experience back pain at some time in their life, so if you have never suffered you are indeed lucky. It’s one of the most common reasons for people going off sick from work.
There are many reasons for back pain, such as arthritis, disc pain and fibromyalgia, but back pain can be related to much simpler issues like poor posture, diet and your flexibility? Here are a few factors that may be causing your back pain or making it worse.
You have a weak core
This is a common cause of lower back pain. Strengthening the core or
‘powerhouse’ that inner unit of muscles in your abdomen and back, that are there for support rather than movement, can reduce lower back pain and reduce the risk of future injury to that area. Be careful before you start doing exercises like abdominal crunches/sit ups as can actually make lower back pain worse. Instead, incorporate moves like plank, which target the deeper core muscles that aid stability and posture.
You have tight hip flexors and hamstrings.
Flexibility is crucial for good posture and pain-free living. When your hamstrings and hip flexors are tight, it pulls your pelvis down away from your lumbar spine, and this increases instability and pain in the lower back. Check out todays exercise of the week showing one way to stretch out the hamstrings
Your pelvis is out of alignment
Postural misalignments however small can have a huge impact on the health of your back especially if they become habitual. There are habits that tilt your pelvis toward one side, such as a wallet or mobile phone kept in the back pocket. Tilting your pelvis backward, such as slumping and poor posture, can again lead to back pain. Developing more body awareness along with strengthening the core, stretching the hamstrings and hip flexors, and practicing better posture can help realign the pelvis. If you notice that you are twisted when you look at your shoulders (one might be lower than the other too) and hips in a mirror, you might need some adjustment. I work with some excellent osteopaths and physiotherapists and am happy to point you to one of these therapist if you feel you need some treatment.
A poor diet.
A poor diet with fast foods and ready meals can lead to all sorts of health problems and diseases as amongst other things it can increase inflammation. Eating a balanced whole-food diet rich in antioxidants and healthy fats can help to lessen pain.
You sit all day and have poor posture
Sitting all day, especially with poor posture, can put your back under strain and lead to pain, soreness and disc degeneration.
You need to be training yourself to sit (and stand up straight) Your ears over your shoulders with your pelvis tilted slightly forward. can This can go a long way in both preventing and reducing back pain
You don’t exercise
When your back is sore exercise is probably the last thing you want to do. Studies show that exercise, especially moves that emphasise flexibility and strength, can help to reduce back pain. I see this time again with people who come to my classes. A review in a 2016 of existing studies showed that the correct exercise is one of the most effective ways to prevent back pain as well.
You sleep on your stomach
There is not a lot of science behind sleeping position and back pain. Generally sleeping on your back or on your side with a straight spine (not in the foetal position) is considered best. One pillow not two and on a decent mattress. I sleep on my side with my top knee resting on a pillow to keep my back straight and find it very comfortable.
Chronic back pain can lead to depression thats understandable but depression can also lead to back pain. Studies have suggested that addressing mental and emotional health issues may be an important step in finding a solution to back pain. Practicing meditation is also a great way to reduce back pain caused by depression, and lower your risk of injury.