Daily Habits That Are Hurting Your Back

Most people have back pain at some point in their lives. Did you know that back pain sends more patients to doctors than any condition other than the common cold? Below are some everyday habits could be contributing to your pain:

Poor Diet

With weight gain comes back pain as well as painful joints, therefore it’s vital to maintain a healthy weight. Healthy circulation brings nutrients to the spine and removes waste. If this doesn’t happen, inflammation can result, causing inflammatory chemicals in the back to trigger nerves and send pain signals to the brain.

Lack of exercise

Being sedentary can lead to weight gain and back pain symptoms, as sitting puts 40% more pressure on your spine than standing.
Keep your back tight and strong with exercise, which provides the muscle tone needed to support your back and keep it pain-free

Poor Posture

Good posture protects the intricate pieces of your spine to keep them functioning and healthy. To ensure that you’re standing up straight, make sure that your ears are over your shoulders, shoulders over your hip joints and your hips over your ankles. 

Your Office Chair

Back pain can result from staying in one position for an extended period of time. The more pressure you have on the discs of your spine, the more the discs will wear away. To relieve or avoid pain, get up from the computer at least every hour to take a short walk. Also, sitting at a 135-degree angle can reduce compression of the discs in the spine, so lean back slightly every now and then.   

Working on Your Computer

Hunching over a computer is a leading reason why four out of five women end up with crippling back pain at some point in their lives.
Make sure to keep your head up and move your mouse close to you so that reaching doesn’t become necessary. Also, your torso should be about an arm’s length away from the monitor, which should be 2 to 3 inches above eye level.

The Wrong Shoes

Be sure to replace old shoes, as shoes with worn soles can change your gait and lead to back pain. Fit is most important to keep your footwear from causing back pain. For example, flip-flops and heels often lead to foot instability and shouldn’t be worn for walking long distances. Instead commute in comfortable flats or supportive sneakers and consider adding cushioning inserts to uncomfortable shoes

Old Mattress

Consider replacing your mattress every 5 to 7 years. If you’re sinking when you lie down, it’s probably time to get a new mattress. When purchasing a new mattress, keep in mind that there shouldn’t be air between your body and the mattress when you lie down. Also, a medium-firm mattress is that isn’t too firm or too soft is best for the back.

Your Shoulder Bag

Anytime you have to balance the weight of a purse, shoulder bag or heavy wallet, you change the curve of your spine, which can lead to back pain. When you carry a heavy bag, your shoulders become imbalanced, as your body elevates the shoulder carrying the bag.
Keep in mind that your bag should weigh no more than 10% of your body weight. It’s a good idea to alternate which shoulder you carry the bag with and even consider splitting your items between two bags to distribute the load more evenly. 


Smokers are more than twice as likely to develop lower back pain than those who have never smoked.  Smoking deprives cells in the body of oxygen, including those that control the motion of your back. Also, Nicotine restricts the blood flow to the discs in the spine, thus causing them to dry out crack or rupture.

Photo Credit: Ryan Weisgerber

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