The human back is remarkably durable and surprisingly capable of dealing with a variety of movements associated with different lifestyles–to a point. When you start to notice an increase in pain and discomfort, however, it may be time to consider how your lifestyle could be contributing to back pain.
Limited activity progressively weakens muscles and tendons supporting the back, often resulting in pain from muscle stiffness when you first wake up in the morning. Granted, you can’t do too much about having to sit in front of a computer all day for work. However, there are steps you can take to exercise your back muscles that could bring you welcome relief from occasional pain, including:
• Making an effort to stand up and walk around (as much as possible) while working
• Incorporating low-intensity exercise into your daily life (even 20-30 minutes of casual walking during your lunch break can help your back)
• Limiting bed rest (since too much rest isn’t good for back muscles)
There’s nothing wrong with leading an active lifestyle, as long as you understand that all that time spent at the gym, surfing, running, biking, jogging or horsing around with the kids in the backyard on weekends could be taking a toll on your back. Of course, an active lifestyle has many health benefits, so the key to maintaining such a lifestyle is taking preventative steps like these:
• Wearing proper protective gear while playing sports
• Modifying exercises/workout routines that put too much pressure on the spine (some effective exercises aren’t all that easy on the spine)
• Focusing on posture and proper lifting techniques (while working out, performing workplace duties, rearranging furniture or participating in favorite pastime activities like hiking, bicycling, or swimming)
Realistically, most people have a lifestyle that’s somewhere in between inactive and active. However, it’s still important to consider how your everyday routine may relate to those occasional aches and pains you sometimes feel at the end of the day or when waking up in the morning. If back pain becomes progressively worse or fails to respond to over-the-counter pain relievers, it’s time to see what your doctor has to say about motion-preserving spine procedures.
If chronic back pain persists, schedule an appointment with a spine specialist who can diagnose the cause of your pain and help you determine the best treatment options for your lifestyle. For more information, call (310) 828-7757 and request an in-person consultation with a physician at The Spine Institute Center today.