The Small Shifts That Can Save Your Back

Are you finding that you’re increasingly popping over-the-counter pain relievers and waking up with the unmistakable sense that you – and your back – just aren’t as young as you used to be? If so, you’re certainly not alone. Back pain is a common problem for adults all over the world, and depending upon your personal level of activity, you may be increasing your chances of experiencing it.

At our lumbar spine specialty practice in New Jersey, we help people who are suffering from lower back pain every single day, and there are a few contributing factors that keep coming up. Take a look at this list of the top four factors that we believe that patients can change with minimal effort, and see if there’s something that you can do for yourself:

How are you spending your weekdays … and weekends?

There’s nothing wrong with having a weekend warrior mentality and spending your days off running around and turning up the exertion level … unless you’re spending the other five days a week in couch potato pose. We understand that you may feel shackled to your desk and have a shortage of time, but you can’t only move on the weekends without putting undue stress on your back. It’s important to move every single day to keep the muscles and structures that support your spine strong and limber.

How much weight have you gained in the last few years?

If you’ve gained more than a couple of pounds, then you’re adding a significant amount of stress to your spine and the muscles that support it. This is especially true if you’re carrying all of your weight in front — belly weight is a tremendous additional burden on your spine. Here’s something else to think about. In addition to the added weight that you can see, fat can accumulate around your spine, and that’s just one more thing that can compress the nerves and lead to pain. If you want your back to feel better, lose the extra weight.

Is your exercise regimen working against you?

If you’re combining yoga with lifting, you’re putting your vertebral discs in danger. While one tends to soften the discs up by encouraging flexibility, the other stiffens the material in your back. You need to either choose one or find a way to combine the two in a healthier way. Otherwise you are risking further damage.

How many drinks does it take to make you happy?

We all deserve a break and love to spend time with friends at happy hour, but if you’re consuming more than a couple of alcoholic drinks a day, you’re working against your back’s recovery. That’s because too much alcohol intake limits the amount of blood that circulates to your discs to help them heal. It can also have an inflammatory impact on your muscles. Keep your drinking to no more than two per day, and perhaps less when you’re experiencing pain.

For many people, these simple adjustments are all the help they need, but if you make these changes and are still experiencing lower back pain, contact our lumbar spine specialist in New Jersey today to make an appointment for a consultation.

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