You might have experienced back pain and thought, “Wait, what, I’m still young, why is this happening?” The thing is, while back pain is usually associated with old age, anyone can experience it regardless of age. But rather than it being because your bones are no longer as strong, you’re likely to feel the pain due to lifestyle choices. Here are seven possible reasons.
Spending long hours at the desk
Amidst heavy work load and meetings, we often neglect maintaining a proper posture. Instead of leaving the office with a stiff back every day, incorporate regular stretch breaks every hour or so. A few basic stretches like twisting your waist or stretching open your chest muscles will keep your muscles from feeling too tight at the end of the day. Extra points if you invest in a back support so that your office chair follows the natural curve of your spine.
Using your mobile phone
If you hunch over your mobile phone during long hours of commute to and from work, it could be causing your back and neck pain. The act of hunching your shoulders, and lurching your neck downwards adds extra weight and pressure on your neck which tightens the muscles near your neck and back. Instead, provide your back proper support by standing up straight and looking forward, towards your mobile phone screen.
Carrying heavy items
Slinging a heavy bag on your shoulder may be convenient if both your hands are occupied. However, depending on your shoulder to carry a weighty load distributes the pressure on your spine unevenly as it weighs us down from our shoulder. If this is how you carry your bag every day, it might be the reason your back muscles ache over time. Instead of toting your bag on your shoulder, carry it in your inner elbows as it distributes the weight more evenly.
Skipping your yoga class
Through the body-lengthening poses that yoga practitioners advocate, yoga also has the power to give you incredible relief from stiff muscles as well. The various stretches in the practice of yoga help to ease the physical triggers of back pain. Regular yoga or stretching, allows you to use your back muscles, which may deteriorate if you remain inactive. However, take advice from your yoga instructor to ensure that you are doing the stretches correctly.
Doing workouts incorrectly
Workouts are beneficial for strong bones and muscles as regular blood flow keeps your systems active, lubricated and flexible. But, proceed with caution if you regularly do body or gym weight exercises. For example, you could execute 100 crunches, but none of them will be toning your abdominal muscles if you are straining your neck and shoulder muscles. Similarly, using heavy weights at the gym may be doing you more harm than good if you have an improper form while exercising. This is why it is extremely crucial to maintain a proper form while working out so that you do not put the pressure on your delicate neck or back.
Sleeping on uncomfortable bedding
Because we sleep for a considerable amount of time every day, the wrong mattress could worsen our back pain over the years. Do pick a mattress that is not too hard, or too soft as they do not give your spine proper support throughout the night. Additionally, prop an extra pillow below your knees or in-between your legs which properly aligns your spine to a comfortable position for a restful sleep.
Wearing high heels every day
High heels make you look absolutely glamorous, but do you want that at the price of your back? Wearing a pair of high heels every day is risky because it forces your soles into an uncomfortable angle as you walk around the entire day. It also creates instability which transfers the pressure of your steps to your back. High heels require you to arch your lower back which strains not only your feet but your back muscles as well.
Text: Divyata Raut / Shape Singapore / April 2018
Additional text: Hidayah Idris
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For more health stories, read Do You Sleep Late Every Night? You Might Die Early and Dapao-Ing Food Can Be Dangerous For Your Health. Here’s Why.