From sprains, strains, and injuries to herniated discs, sciatica, and spinal stenosis, your back faces all sorts of pain sources. And with all those potential problems just waiting to attack, it’s no wonder back pain is the top cause of disability around the world, responsible for 264 million missed work days.
But it could be worse. In fact, things you do every day could be exacerbating your lower back pain regardless of the underlying condition. John Monroe, MD at Healthy Life Family Medicine provides cutting-edge treatments for whatever is causing your back pain, and offers advice on how to keep the discomfort to a minimum. Here are five things that might be making your lower back pain even worse.
1. You’re sitting all day
Whether you’re a desk jockey, a truck driver, or you just have a long commute, all that sitting isn’t doing your back any favors. The pressure on your back increases when you sit instead of stand.
Of course, you can’t avoid the chair, especially if it’s your job, but you can adjust your posture to keep the pressure off your spine. You can also take frequent breaks and get up to walk around to the printer, the restroom, or the kitchen.
2. You don’t exercise enough or you’re doing it wrong
We get it — your back hurts, and the last thing you want to do is exercise. But exercise comes in all types, and the kind that can help your lower back pain is gentle and beneficiary. For instance, just getting up and walking can ease stiffness that exacerbates lower back pain.
Some simple stretches can do wonders to relieve pressure, and targeted exercises can strengthen the muscles that support your lower back.
But don’t overdo it. It’s best to talk with Dr. Monroe before embarking on any exercise routine while you’re under treatment for a back injury or condition. The wrong kinds of exercise, or the right ones done incorrectly, can do more harm than good.
3. You carry your weight on your shoulders
Whether you tote a tote with all your worldly possessions or sling a big backpack over your shoulder between classes, the weight tilts your shoulders and throws your spine out of whack.
At the end of the day, you end up with an achy back, but over the long run, it can cause serious injury. And if you’re already suffering from a lower back issue, this just makes it worse. Instead, choose a lightweight purse or bag, only carry essentials, and make sure to distribute the weight evenly across your body.
4. You’re addicted to high heels
They add the perfect touch to your stunning dress, and they make your legs look great, but those stilettos are killing your back. Slipping into those high heels forces your back to arch and misaligns your spine.
To ease your back pain, avoid high-heeled shoes whenever possible, and opt for supportive shoes that fit well and keep your spine aligned.
5. You’re sleeping on the wrong mattress
The best mattress for your back is one that’s not too soft, not too firm, and not too old. If it’s too squishy, your body sags down into an unnatural curve that leaves you achy in the morning.
A super-firm mattress doesn’t have enough give to accommodate your natural curves, so you end up with sore pressure points. And old mattresses that started out supportive eventually lose their ability to keep you comfortable. Experts recommend buying a new mattress every 5-7 years.
How to get rid of lower back pain
Now that you know some of the things that make your lower back pain worse, you can work on eliminating them from your daily routine. But that only solves part of the problem.
Dr. Monroe and the team at Healthy Life Family Medicine provide customized treatment options to reduce or eliminate your back pain. Some treatments may include:
- Muscle relaxant medication
- Topical pain relievers
- Corticosteroid injections
- Physical therapy
Many lower back pain conditions also respond well to regenerative medicine techniques, such as stem cell therapy. If you have sacroiliac joint pain, annular tears, disc degeneration, muscle atrophy, back instability, or a lumbar facet injury, you may be a good candidate for this cutting-edge treatment.
To find out more about your chronic lower back pain treatment options, call us at Goodyear, Arizona office, or schedule a consultation online with Dr. Monroe.