Back pain is one of the most common reasons for patients to talk to a doctor about pain management. Millions of people in the United States are living with chronic back pain, uncertain about options to reduce or eliminate the pain.
If you are one of the many people dealing with ongoing back pain issues, then you probably notice this discomfort in activities throughout the day. It doesn’t matter if you are sitting at the computer to work or standing in line at the grocery store – back pain can make it hard to get through the day.
Too often, patients visit doctors trying to find relief. Sometimes, the treatments offer results for a while, but the pain starts increasing again. If you don’t want to depend on medication and pain pills, then there has to be another answer. Our team at Texas Partners Healthcare Group is here to help. We offer a variety of alternative pain management solutions to help you live as comfortably as possible.
Onset of Back Pain: What Happened?
Typically, back pain starts in one of these ways:
- Sudden Onset: An accident or sudden movement can put pressure on the spine, causing a sudden injury that results in immediate pain. It could be a situation such as a hard hit on the football field, straining the back when lifting something heavy, or being in a car accident. You might notice the pain right away when the accident occurs. Or, there are times when the pain starts within the next few days after the incident. For example, car accident victims might not have immediate pain, but start experiencing the whiplash symptoms a day or two later.
- Slow Progression: Another way chronic back pain can start is by a slow progression. Often, this situation is related to an underlying health concern, such as degenerative discs or spinal stenosis. The symptoms might be small and just a little uncomfortable in the beginning. But, over time, the back pain worsens.
Back pain can affect people of all ages, although it is most common in adults over the age of 30. The natural aging process can cause ongoing wear and tear on the spine, which wears down the discs between the vertebrae. As a result, different movements and positions can put pressure on the vertebrae. When this happens, even small movements and simple daily tasks can cause injury or discomfort.
What is Aggravating Your Back Pain?
Start paying attention to when your pain flares, to see if you can identify activities or daily tasks that are causing your back pain to flare. Here are some of the most common everyday activities that put pressure on the back:
- Sitting at the Computer: How much time do you spend each day sitting at a desk while you are working on a computer? It doesn’t matter if you are at home or in an office setting. If you are spending hours a day in front of the screen, then it can put pressure on the spine. Too often, people sit in the same position without taking breaks. Poor ergonomics can exacerbate the problem. In fact, sitting at the computer can increase the pressure on intervertebral discs by as much as 300%.
- Household Chores: Brushing your teeth or standing over the kitchen sink can potentially add to your back pain. If you are leaning over the sink or hunching your shoulders, then it affects the alignment of the spine.
- Improper Exercise Form: It’s good to exercise with cardio and weight training. But if you aren’t using proper form, it can hurt your spine. Incorrect form strains the muscles and ligaments in the back. Exercise injuries can also result in issues such as herniated discs and more.
- Sleep Habits: Do you often wake up with back pain in the morning? Then it could be an indication of poor sleeping habits. This problem is more common for people who often sleep on their stomach.
Tips to Minimize Daily Back Pain
Now that you are aware of the activities that are affecting your back pain, you can start making lifestyle adjustments to reduce the pressure on the spine. Follow these tips:
- Take Regular Breaks: Be proactive about taking breaks throughout the day when you are working at the computer. Stand up every hour, walk around, stretch, and move your body. If you have a hard time remembering, then set a timer so you don’t forget to take a break. Consider investing in an adjustable desk that allows you to change the height so you can sit or stand while working. Alternating between sitting and standing can be a good way to reduce pressure on the spine.
- Invest in Ergonomic Equipment: Look for ways you can maintain a neutral spine shape by using equipment to promote good ergonomics. One strategy is to place your laptop on a stand and use a separate keyboard. The screen stand lifts the position of your head and neck so you can look straight forward. The separate keyboard allows you to keep your arms and hands in a neutral position.
- Stand Up Straight: Pay attention to your posture and spinal alignment when you are washing the dishes, doing your hair, vacuuming the floors, or doing anything else around the house. Bringing awareness to your posture can help you make small adjustments throughout the day, helping to alleviate spinal pressure.
- Improve Exercise Techniques: Work with a personal trainer to identify and correct bad exercise habits. Professional advice is an invaluable investment because you can maintain proper weight lifting form in the future.
- Adjust Your Sleep Habits: Change the way you are sleeping to improve the neutrality of your spine at night. The best position is on your back since it aligns the head, neck, and spine. Avoid using a tall pillow under the head. Consider putting a pillow under your knees to reduce lumbar pressure.
Talk to Pain Management Specialists
These lifestyle adjustments can help when you are experiencing chronic pain. But you might also need to talk to a pain management specialist for personal recommendations. For information about back pain treatments and help for other chronic conditions, schedule an appointment with us at Texas Partners Healthcare Group.