5 Bad Habits That Cause Lower Back Pain
If you suffer from nagging low back pain, you’re not alone. About 80% of the population experiences lower back pain, oftentimes keeping people away from work and the activities they love most. When lower back pain becomes chronic, it can feel like an annoying part of life that you just need to learn how to deal with— it’s inevitable, right? Pain in the morning becomes the new normal, and you begin to adjust your behaviors around things that you know will make the pain worse. We’re here to tell you this doesn’t have to be your story— back pain needn’t be a way of life.
What many people struggle with is identifying the root of their pain. The reality is that once you’re able to understand where your pain is coming from, you can begin the process of becoming pain-free...really!
You may also be guilty of some everyday habits that are contributing to your lower back pain, without even realizing it. So let’s take a look at the more common culprits of lower back pain and what you can do to improve your overall health.
Bad Habit #1: Poor Posture
One day of sitting and operating with poor posture doesn’t add up to chronic lower back pain, but when you make a habit of slouching, it’s bound to catch up to you. If you go about your day with bad posture, it adds stress and strain to the muscles in and around your back which, unsurprisingly, leads to back pain. Not to mention, if you get stuck practicing poor posture day in and day out, it can actually begin to change your spine anatomically– and not in a good way.
The good news is that the fix is relatively easy; it simply requires more self-awareness. If you’re trying to break the habit of poor posture, set check-points throughout the day to make sure that you’re sitting or standing upright, with shoulders back and down. When you catch yourself accidentally slipping back into poor posture, (and it happens to the best of us!) take a moment to gather yourself and engage a strong postural stance.
Bad Habit #2: Unhealthy Weight
Many people have difficulty maintaining a healthy weight – we know just how difficult it can be!
However, one hard truth is that carrying excess weight can actually be a big contributor to lower back pain. A significantly heavier midsection in particular can begin to even shift your center of gravity forward, effectively throwing your posture out of whack. And, as we just covered, poor posture is another contributor to your pain.
Being overweight also puts you at risk for spinal disc compression, which only amplifies pain in the lower back, and can even cause permanent damage when left unaddressed. Bottom line: for many overall health reasons, and to help your back stay pain-free, a blend of a healthy diet and some light exercise can truly help keep your quality of life in a much better place.
Bad Habit #3: Sedentary Lifestyle
Staying more sedentary throughout the day is on the rise as many of us have largely transitioned to desk jobs. However, just because sitting has been worked into our “normal” daily lives more over time, doesn’t mean that it’s a lifestyle we should emulate.
Of course, if you have back pain, we know that it can also be tempting to limit your movement overall.
However, when we deprive our bodies of movement over long periods of time, we restrict blood flow, put pressure on the discs in our lower back, put ourselves at risk for gaining weight, and even put ourselves at a higher risk for osteoporosis. All of these can spell disaster for lower back health and comfort.
Incorporating light movement throughout the day can go a long way in terms of a healthy body and pain-free lower back. Try taking small walk breaks, schedule in time to go for a hike with a friend, take the stairs whenever possible, find a new active hobby that excites you...whatever it is, break the cycle of sitting to create a healthier habit.
Bad Habit #4: Lack of Strength from Inactivity
You don’t have to be a world-class athlete to enjoy being active, though we do understand that the busyness of day-to-day life can oftentimes get in the way of consistently working out. Between work, childcare, and social life, it’s easy for the workout to get deprioritized.
However, we were made to move! When we don’t grant our bodies the movement and activity that it actually craves, the muscles that we need to keep us strong and healthy for everyday activities– activities as simple as waking up and walking around without pain– become compromised and get weaker. When it comes to protecting your lower back, you want to pay special attention to your core strength. A weak core often leads to poor posture, causing you to arch your lower back more frequently, adding a significant amount of stress and pain to that area over time. A strong core is what will give you the strength to support and maintain proper posture.
Bad Habit #5: Incorrect Exercises
You may have the best of intentions at the gym, but when you work out with an incorrect form, you could be doing your body more harm than good. Particularly if you’re lifting heavier weights for strength training, you’ll want to make sure that your form is good. And when you begin to fatigue and your form starts to go, stop your reps. This not only helps ensure that you get the best workout possible but also safeguards against injury.
Oftentimes it’s difficult to spot inconsistencies or incorrect movement patterns yourself, so enlisting a workout partner or even a personal trainer can help to ensure that your posture and form are holding true throughout a workout. And again, be especially careful toward the end of a workout, as holding proper form becomes more difficult as you become more fatigued. When in doubt, do one or two repetitions less than what you feel is your maximum in order to maintain good form. You’ll get more from your workouts when you’re able to stay injury-free, than when you push too hard.
How Chiropractic Can Help Lower Back Pain
If you’re suffering from consistent lower back pain, chiropractic care can be an incredibly helpful form of treatment, as many common causes of lower back pain stem from misalignments in the spine. That’s where chiropractic manipulations come in. Chiropractic adjustments of the spine help realign your body, providing relief while treating the root of the problem.
As you look to cut back on any offenders that could be making your pain worse, consider also incorporating chiropractic care into your routine to support healing in your body. The relief that’s possible from treatment along with creating healthy habits can go quite a long way in kicking your back pain to the curb for good.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for in-person advice or care from a medical professional.