It begins as a twinge in the back that soon becomes an ever-present part of life: back pain. You might think you can push through the pain. You might continue doing as you’ve always done, but the pain will remain and could potentially get worse. You’re not alone, though. Many Canadians complain of back pain, but you shouldn’t let yourself be a statistic. Instead, learn the causes of back pain and how to remedy those aches so you can be your best self every day.
Here’s everything you need to know about where back pain comes from and how to fix it:
Reasons You Have Back Pain
- Sedentary Lifestyle
A Temple University study found that the average person spends about nine hours a day slouched in front of a screen each day. That is a long time to be straining the muscles of the upper spine and neck. With our sedentary lifestyles being the major contributor to back pain, you need to take care of how you are sitting and how often you move. According to Jeffrey Katz, MD, and professor of medicine and orthopedics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, sitting all day “puts more pressure on disks and vertebrae than standing or walking.”
- Weak Core
But there are other reasons you could be getting back pain, as well. When you have a less active lifestyle, your core muscles are not engaged as often. Your back, obliques, transverse abdominis, and gluteal muscles all rely on one another, so when you’re not working them, those muscles get weak. In turn, the spine loses support and is more vulnerable to strains and sprains.
- Stress Factors
Research done by the University of Alberta found that people with major depression are four times more likely to develop severe low-back and neck pain. Being under stress constantly, as well as having depression and anxiety will cause a continuous flood of cortisol, a stress hormone that has a negative impact on your body, including poor sleep, tension in the shoulders, and low-back spasms.
Other reasons you might have pain could be pregnancy, improper lifting technique while working out or doing construction, wearing shoes without much support or high-heels, walking with an improper gait, previous injuries, and arthritis.
Ways To Fix Back Pain
Whatever the cause of your back pain might be, there are a number of ways to treat the pain and get on with your life.
- Ice and Heat
Whenever your back hurts, you first ice the muscles to reduce inflammation then use heat to soothe. Apply ice during the first 24-48 hours, for no longer than 10-15 minutes at a time. Once the inflammation dissipates, you can use a heating pad or heat pack to ease the pain.
The ancient Chinese treatment known as acupuncture has been used to treat moderate to chronic back pain. Small needles are used to stimulate the release of pain-relieving neurotransmitters like endorphins and increase circulation to help the back muscles relax.
Thanks to the slow, controlled movements of yoga, you can gently strengthen and stretch all the muscles of the body, including your core and back. Since the exercise also promotes stress relief, you can a double benefit of managing your emotions while removing tension from your body.
Back pain can be debilitating, but that doesn’t mean it has to keep you from doing what you enjoy. Take a glimpse at your day-to-day activities and search for actions that could be giving you back pain. From there, take miniature steps throughout your day to help protect your back from any further harm, and consider scheduling an appointment for some acupuncture!