Most Americans will have to deal with a back injury at least once in their life. Some of these injuries can become chronic (about 10%), and most of them will put a strain on everyday activities.
While some back injuries can occur because of an accident, most back injuries come from a long timeline of treating our backs poorly. Of course, no person would cause intentional harm to their back. In fact, most back injuries occur when a person does things they see no problem with. Did you know that your work life could contribute to all of that back pain you may be experiencing? It can also stem from driving the wrong way, exercising the wrong way, and sleeping the wrong way. Fortunately, you can help to reverse your back pain by making little lifestyle changes.
Read the Q & A below to find out how you may be contributing to serious back pain without even knowing it.
Q: I wake up every morning with aches and pains in my back, but my bed is super comfortable. Does this mean I need to get a new bed even if my current one isn’t very old?
A: One might think that it is impossible to injure your back while sleeping; you aren’t straining any muscles and you hardly even move at all. However, the hours you spend with your eyes closed could be the time where your back is strained the most. A bed with a lack of support for your back is one possible cause. Another cause is the position that you sleep in. If you sleep in a position that is bad for your back for six to nine hours at a time, it could mean serious back pain during the day. The best kind of mattress for a person with a sensitive back is a hard one. If you can afford it, look into purchasing an orthopedic mattress. Costs tend to run a bit high, but remember to take into account all of the money that you will save on chiropractor and doctor bills.
Another way to help a stiff back in the morning is by stretching before you get out of bed. When you lie in bed for such a long period of time, you are much more likely to experience back pain. Warming up your body (and your back) while you are still in bed gives it time to get back to its proper working order before going about your day.
You might also consider speaking with your doctor about sleeping positions that can alleviate some of the pain that you are experiencing in your back. Before you go out and buy a brand new mattress, try some of the easier solutions first.
Q: I am on the computer all day at work. When I get home, the pain in my back is unbearable. What causes it and how can I fix it?
A: There are many things that contribute to back pain at work. Some of these things include the wrong kind of chair, computer equipment in the wrong positions, and the wrong posture. While you can’t leave your job entirely, there are a few things that you can do to make your days much more bearable.
First of all, you might want to look into purchasing a better chair. Talk to your boss about your back pain and ask if it would be possible to get a better, more ergonomic chair. Most bosses will understand your concern and will look into getting you into a new chair in order to keep you comfortable. Ergonomic chairs are designed to support your back as well as your spine. If you can’t work out the funds to get a better chair, there are still a few techniques that you can try to alleviate the pain. Make sure you lean all the way back in your chair so that you are using the backrest as an actual resting place. When you lean against the back of the chair you can let your muscles relax when you don’t need them. You don’t always need to sit straight up.
Whether you are working in a cubicle or an office, you want to make sure that your workspace is set up in a way that reduces the pain in your back. Try to arrange files, drawers, and the height of your chair in such a way that you do not have to do too much bending or twisting.
You also want to make sure that you are staying active at work. Get up and walk around when you get the chance. This helps to alleviate the pain caused by sitting in one position for too long.
Dr. James Wood has been a Jacksonville, Florida chiropractor for over 30 years. As he gets ready to retire, Dr. Wood looks forward to writing more blog posts and sharing his knowledge with the masses.