It is estimated that 80 percent of adults will experience back pain at some point in their lives (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke). There are a lot of factors that can lead to people experiencing back pain.
Age and Weight
Age is something that often leads to an increased amount of back pain. When people get old, their body often gradually starts to wear out. Thus, it is important to try to limit the breakdown of the body by staying as healthy as possible. Weight is an added stress to the spine, which often leads to back pain. Maintaining a healthy weight is a good way to minimize some of that potential pain.
Some people have a lot of physical strain in their jobs. Employees who have a lot of lifting and twisting will often lead to back pain. However, people who sit at a desk all day without adequate back support will often eventually start to feel the pain too. It is important to remember to stretch and walk around to give your spine a break if you are constantly sitting down all day or straining your spine.
Many people think that as long as they get out and exercise that it can limit their back pain. While exercise is important, it is important to be careful. Many “weekend warriors” do not exercise during the week and then do the strenuous activity on the weekend, which can cause pain to the spine. It is important to remain active throughout the week as well. Swimming is often a good option for those already suffering from back or neck pain. Also, always remember to stretch before and after to help reduce extra muscle tension and improve mobility.
People constantly hear the phrase, “Lift with your legs, not your back.” However, many people do not really know what that means. Be sure to stand as close to the object as possible. With bended knees, make your arms level with the top of the item. Then, be sure to keep your back straight and head down. Some things might be harder to do this with than others, so do not be afraid to ask for help. These tips will help limit some awkward twisting or pulling of your spine that often occurs with the improper lifting of objects.
How You Sleep
How people sleep can have an impact on back pain too. It is not only a matter of how one lays but making sure to get enough sleep so the whole body may be well-rested is important. Sleeping on one side is typically considered better than sleeping on the stomach. This method reduces some of the pressure on the spine that occurs when someone is on their stomach. It is recommended to have a pillow between the legs for this method, to increase support. It also can help with breathing and apnea, which often force people to awaken in the night. The more people are awake during the night, the less rested they will be in the morning.
Sleeping on one’s back with proper support under the knees to help with the natural curve of the spine is typically considered the best sleeping position for a healthy spine. Having proper neck and back support with pillows and mattresses are also important in helping with back pain. However, if people already have some back conditions, like a herniated disc, for instance, then a specialist might suggest a different sleeping position to help reduce pain and to open the spinal joints.
One simple thing that can help maintain a healthy spine is staying hydrated. This is a small thing that can help the disks in the spine maintain their height, which minimizes the chance of bulging disks and lessens the pressure on the spine.
Contact a Specialist
It is good for someone to see a specialist if they have back pain. Spine specialists can help come up with a customized treatment plan to help diagnose the current issue, find methods to reduce pain, and give suggestions on other ways to prevent some future back pain.
Dr. Ricart is a Board Certified, fellowship-trained spine doctor. He is fluent in both Spanish and English and is accepting new patients in both Omaha and Council Bluffs. If you’re having issues with your spine then maybe it’s time to give Dr. Ricart a visit!