Managing Low Back Pain

From joint inflammation to age-related disc degeneration, there are many possible causes of back pain. While there’s a natural inclination for both doctors and patients to focus on the most common pain culprits, according to Los Angeles spine surgeons, there are some often overlooked causes of persistent back discomfort that should also be considered.

Lack of Foot Support

Even if you have comfy shoes, they may not be providing the support your lower back needs. While high heels are often singled out, even flat shoes with a worn bottom can shift alignment and contribute to your back pain.

Heavy Bags/Purses

Lugging around a heavy bag, purse, or backpack on a regular basis can place added pressure on muscles supporting your shoulders and back. Instead, carry just what you need (wallet, cellphone) or use a wheeled bag with an extension handle to cart around heavier loads.

Long Car Rides or Plane Trips

If you’re a frequent traveler, all those hours in cars and planes may be placing added strain on your back, especially if you remain in the same position for long periods of time. When possible, get up and stretch or, for long road trips, make occasional stops to get out of the car and walk around.

Smoking and Drinking

Chemicals in nicotine affect blood vessels and make it difficult for cells to receive oxygen and other essential nutrients. Studies suggest that long-term cigarette smoking may affect cells within the spine and its supporting muscles. There’s also a possible link between excessive alcohol consumption and back pain.

Stress and Anxiety

Prolonged mental stress, anxiety, and depression can affect all parts of your body, including your back. Stress-related muscle tension, in particular, can contribute to back pain.

Improper Cellphone Posture

All that time spent checking messages or leaning your phone against your shoulder could be doing a number on your back. Be aware of your posture and minimize positions likely to place added pressure on your neck and back.

Unless there’s a specific cause of back pain, such as herniated disc, there are usually multiple contributing factors. By considering overlooked sources of back pain, you may be able to take proactive steps to minimize your discomfort.

If you have chronic back pain that isn’t responding to conservative therapies, speak with a spine specialist about other options, including both fusions and motion-preserving spinal surgeries. For more information or to schedule an in-person consultation, reach out to The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration at (310) 828-7757 today.