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5 Common Causes of Back Pain & How to Prevent Them

The unfortunate truth is that back pain is something almost everyone has to deal with at some point or another. Fortunately, there are several ways that you can take back control if you’re more prone to back-related issues.

In this week’s post, we are looking at five of the most common causes of back pain, as well as several strategies that can help prevent future instances.

1) Weekend Activities

Ask most physicians here in Florida, and they’ll tell you that weekend activities lead to many cases of low back pain. People who don’t train get out there on the court or the green and think they’re professionals. The spirit may feel invigorated, but the back is often the first to give in.

Man feels back pain after playing golf

Another day at the range can lead to another day of pain.

Think about it another way, someone spends the majority of their time sitting at a desk during the week. Then they decide to tackle that extensive home remodel project they’ve been putting off for weeks. Bending over to rake leaves or cut wood can also take a significant toll on your back.

Our Prevention Tip: One of the best ways to avoid long-term low back pain symptoms is by getting regular exercise. Spend more time stretching and strengthening those core muscles. The obliques in particular will help improve overall back stability.

You can add more strength to your core by using a exercise ball at work instead of a normal office chair.

2) Improper Technique in the Gym

Speaking of exercise, this actually brings us to no. 2 on this list of common back pain causes. Poor technique while bending and lifting during a workout is a major cause of back injuries.

Our Prevention Tip: Engaging your core is essential. If you’ve had a personal trainer before, you’ve definitely heard this one, but it is very important. We recommend following these tips during your next back workout:

  1. Bend the knees and keep your back straight– don’t bend at the waist.
  2. Keep the bar closer to you– it puts extra stress on the back when held further out.
  3. Don’t hold items higher than your armpit or lower than your knees.
  4. Don’t attempt to move something that weighs more than 20% of your body.
  5. While lifting, keep your feet pointed ahead and face the item as you lift it up. Don’t twist or turn during the lift.

Check out this video on safe lifting technique:

3) Absentmindedness

If you’re someone who is prone to low back pain or instances of chronic pain, even simple tasks can lead to an episode when you’re caught off guard. It could be a task as mundane as washing the dishes or taking out the trash. People often have this misconception that a back injury can only be caused when lifting something really heavy in a jerking awkward fashion.

Living with a condition like osteoarthritis means that you need to be prepared when performing daily activities. A case of absent mindedness could easily lead to a painful day.

Our Prevention Tips: Again, the key to preventing problems here is by keeping your core engaged. One simple technique that helps is pretending that you are wearing a corset. This involves pulling your navel down toward your spine. Practice this throughout the day and remember it when you bend over and lift things.

4 + 5) Poor Posture while Sitting

Physician examines spine of patient with low back painWhat’s some harsh truth? You’ve probably been hurting your back while reading this post. Yes, poor posture while sitting at work, in the car or wherever is perhaps the most common cause of back pain problems. Here’s why…

Human vertebrae are cushioned by spongy discs, but blood circulation to these is bad. Movement causes fluid to circulate through the discs in the spine. Sitting still for long stretches of time deprives the discs of essential nutrition obtained by this passage of fluid. Long hours on our butts leads to more “mileage” on the discs and extra stress on the back.

Low back pain clinical trials have shown that sitting puts more pressure on your back than lying down or standing up.

The worst possible position to take while sitting is leaning forward in the seat. This puts extra pressure on the front vertebrae because the spine flexes while the pelvis is locked. The further you lean forward the more pressure you put on the discs of your spine.

As you’ve seen, posture is key and so is mindfulness when it comes to preventing spinal injuries. If you frequently experience low back pain, please don’t hesitate to seek further medical assistance. Here’s a great resource for finding a back pain specialist.

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