Back pain is one of the most common complaints that send people to their doctors’ offices. In fact, more than three million people seek help for this affliction each year. In most cases, back pain resolves in a period of days or weeks, but for others, the pain becomes chronic and requires intervention from a spine specialist in New Jersey.
Generally, when people experience back pain, it is either a result of an acute injury or a long period of decline that they have been unconscious of. If you want to avoid back pain in the future or identify potential reasons for the aches and pains you’re experiencing, we can help. Here are seven of the most common reasons for back pain.
• Computer Work – Computers are part and parcel of modern life. Despite the fact that they are ubiquitous, most workplace environments have done little to help employees maintain a healthy back while working at their keyboard all day. To help yourself, try sitting closer to your computer with your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle to touch the keyboard. Your monitor should be at eye level so you don’t have to look up or down. If you start getting stiff, stand up and stretch by rolling your shoulders or arching backward with your hands on your hips.
• Remaining Too Sedentary – Whether you’re sitting on a couch or at your desk at work, sitting for extended periods of time puts pressure on your vertebrae, and this can lead to lower back pain. Try to get up and walk around at least once per hour, or consider investing in a standing desk.
• Luggage and Handbags – When you’re carrying a heavy suitcase, backpack or handbag, you’re putting unnecessary stress on your back, and there’s a good chance that you’re making things worse by twisting too. Invest in a bag with wheels, and keep handbags under 10 lbs. If you must carry a heavy bag, be sure to switch shoulders or hands intermittently.
• Weak Pelvic Muscles – When your pelvic muscles are weak, your back will overcompensate in order to keep your body steady. Try doing core and pelvic muscle exercises to add strength.
• Poor Posture – Bad posture has always been a problem, but it’s been made worse by the use of smartphones. Try to be conscious of slouching, imagining yourself with a string holding you up by the head, or standing with your back against a wall, shoulders back.
• Injuries – Slip and fall accidents, strained backs from lifting improperly, car accidents and sports injuries can lead to severe back injuries that require treatment.
• Stress – Don’t underestimate the physical impact of stress. It can make you tense the muscles in your neck so much that it causes pain throughout your entire spine. It also sends cortisol throughout your body. Try yoga or mindful meditation to relieve anxiety that can cause or contribute to discomfort.
If your back pain doesn’t resolve quickly, you may need medical attention. Contact our New Jersey spine specialist to set up a convenient time to come in for an appointment.