The way you carry your bag, how you sit at work or even your driving position can affect your back. And there are others that you don’t even suspect.
The data are revealing: 95% of low back pain does not respond to any specific cause, that is, it is not due to a disease, but simply to incorrect lifestyle habits. The good news is that when it comes down to it, fighting back pain is in your hands.
Back pain is something that affects us all, and that’s not just saying it: 90% of people will suffer from it at some point in their lives. And this takes into account that there is no specific cause to which it can be attributed in most cases.
Few people consult a doctor when faced with back pain; most people are resigned to the fact that some pain “is normal”, especially as the years go by. And those who go to a specialist are faced with an answer that may seem surprising: “There is nothing wrong with you”.
In these cases, this is good news, since resolving the pain will depend on correcting some habits of life or postural hygiene that are harmful to our back and that we all do almost without realizing it.
BAD HABITS THAT ARE HARMFUL
- A bad posture when walking causes our spine to suffer day after day. It is important to do it in such a way that the weight is well distributed along the entire back. To achieve this, slightly tighten the abdomen and throw your shoulders back. This simple gesture already forces you to straighten your back in a natural way. When you stand for a long time, change the position of your feet often, either by placing one of them on a footrest or by alternating their support.
- If you usually lean on the edge of the chair when sitting, your back will suffer, as this position causes it to slouch. It is very important that your spine rests perfectly on the backrest, especially the lumbar area and the coccyx or tailbone.
- Carrying weight or bending down incorrectly. The most common mistake is to bend at the waist and lower the body to pick up weight, a position that causes us to strain the lumbar spine. The ideal way to do this is by bending your knees and keeping your back straight when lowering your body.
- Bad posture when driving. It is important, especially for professionals who work hours behind the wheel, to take care of their position to prevent injuries and back pain. First of all, it is necessary to make sure that both the seat and the steering wheel are correctly positioned at our height. The elbows should be bent at an angle of 45º and the legs between 35 and 45º, and the headrest should not be too far away from the head.
- Watch how you carry your bag. Carrying it too heavy and hanging it on one shoulder is harmful to the cervical musculature. Hang your bag on a shoulder strap and put in it only what is necessary.
- Wearing shoes with high heels regularly makes your back suffer because, when wearing them, you alter the weight distribution of your body, and to counteract it you bend your back when walking, which increases the pressure between the vertebrae of the spine. Flat shoes are also not the most advisable, choose a medium size heel, between 2 and 4 centimeters.
- Sleeping in the wrong position. The most advisable position to protect your back when sleeping is on your side with your knees bent, in the typical fetal position. If you sleep on your back, place a cushion under your knees so that your lower back does not arch. It is not advisable to rest on your stomach.
- Also, keep in mind that your mattress should not be too hard or too soft so that it adapts well to the curves of the spine. If you bought it more than 10 years ago, it is possible that it no longer supports properly and you should change it.
OTHER FACTORS THAT ALSO INFLUENCE
- Stress and nerves. Few parts of the body are as sensitive to stress as the back and specifically the cervical vertebrae. Our posture changes when we are stressed. When we are nervous, we tend to carry our shoulders slightly upwards, an unnatural position that overloads the whole area.
- Discouragement and sadness cause our walking posture to be detrimental. You should walk with your head upright, looking straight ahead. If you walk with your head down, your cervical spine suffers, as well as when walking with your shoulders forward and your back slightly curved.
- A sedentary lifestyle greatly affects the health of the back, since it is necessary to strengthen its musculature so that the vertebrae alone do not bear the weight of the trunk. Exercise must be done, but it must be done well. Poorly practiced physical activity can damage your vertebrae. Exercises that involve impact, such as running or jumping, can have consequences in this regard. The ideal is to combine toning exercises, which strengthen the muscles surrounding the spine, with stretching to help relieve tension. Pilates, yoga, and swimming are the most recommended.