Managing & Preventing Back Pain
Pickups. Drop-offs. Meetings, errands, workouts. Whew! Just the thought of cramming everything that needs to be done into a day is enough to make anyone’s back twinge. It takes a lot to power through your day, and you don’t have time to let back pain keep you from making it all happen.
Some Causes of Back Pain
- Low Fitness Level: Back pain is common among those with low fitness levels as weak back and abdominal muscles do not support the spine. iii
- On the Job Factors iii
- Manual Labor: Jobs/activities that require heavy lifting or continuous exertion of strength can lead to back pain or additional injury.
- Stationary Workspace: If you’re inactive and seated for the majority of the day, back pain can be caused by poor posture or lack of suitable back support.
- Mental Health Factors: If you’re struggling with certain mental health challenges such as anxiety or depression, pain can be an amplified point of focus – increasing the perception of your back-pain’s severity. In general, stress can also contribute to muscle tension.iii If you believe you may be experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety talk to your doctor.
- Genetics: Certain causes of back pain (i.e. ankylosing spondylitis – a form of arthritis that affects the spine) can be linked to genetic factors.iii Talk to your doctor if you believe that a genetic disorder is causing your pain.
- Smoking: Smoking may prevent necessary blood flow containing nutrients from getting to the disks in your back. Smoker’s cough can also contribute to back pain. i
Keeping your back strong is especially important now as, over time, the odds of having back pain go upi. See below for some quick tips on how to manage and prevent back pain.
Tips for Preventing Back Pain
- Exercise Often: Focus on moves that will help strengthen and stretch your back muscles I . Always check with your doctor before starting or changing your exercise regimen.
- Maintain a Healthy Weight: Excess pounds can put extra stress on the back and cause pain i
- Maintain a Healthy Diet: Promote strong bones with a calcium and vitamin D rich diet and/or supplement your daily intake with vitamins.i
- Perfect your Form: Focus on standing up straight. When lifting heavy objects, bend your legs and keep your back straight to take pressure off your back.i
Tips for Managing Back Pain:
- Heating Pads: The warmth from the pad can help relieve muscle spasms.ii Remember to use these pads only as directed.
- Laying on the Floor: Lay flat with your back on the floor and place pillows under your knees to take the pressure and weight off your back.ii
- Use an OTC Pain Reliever: Ibuprofen, found in OTC pain relievers such as MOTRIN®, works to relieve minor aches and pains associated with backache.
With a better understanding of what causes back pain and how you can prevent and treat it – we challenge you to make the adjustment that you need to put you back on the right course and overcome your back pain. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you have any questions and concerns.
- Back Pain, Easy-to-Read Fun Facts: https://www.catalog.niams.nih.gov/detail.cfm?pubid=2106
- Low Back Pain https://familydoctor.org/condition/low-back-pain/?adfree=true
- Low Back Pain Fact Sheet https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Low-Back-Pain-Fact-Sheet