If your back is killing you, you’re not alone. Half of working Americans are familiar with this annoying aching feeling in the lower part of the back. And although many people opt for medication to relieve the pain, that’s not always the most effective way to deal with it. In fact, changing some things we do daily can help us cut the problem at its roots.
We decided to take a closer look at the seemingly harmless daily habits that can eventually twist your spine.
1. You wear tight skirts and high heels.
While pencil skirts can turn heads, they can also give you an aching back. Tight skirts can restrict movement in your hips, which causes strain on your spine. The same happens when you put on a pair of high heels: these shoes position your feet at an unnatural height, which in turn causes the muscles in your lower back to shift. To enjoy fashion without sacrificing your health, opt for skirts that allow your legs to move freely, and choose shoes with heels that are under 2 inches.
2. You’re drinking soda often.
Sipping sugary drinks isn’t the healthiest way to keep your energy up, and in addition to many other health risks, they can worsen your back pain too. The habit of drinking sugary soda can result in kidney stones which can cause severe pain in your back. Drinking carbonated beverages also leads to gas getting stuck in your digestive system, and puts pressure on your spine. If your back hurts after having a glass of coke, it might be time to think about increasing your water intake.
3. You’re stressed out.
When your body releases stress hormones, it causes your muscles to tighten instinctively. Tension in your muscles, in turn, leads to painful sensations in your neck, shoulders, and back. Studies have shown that including relaxation in your daily routine can effectively improve back pain.
4. You’re sleeping on the wrong pillow.
When you’re sleeping on a pillow that’s too big, you may love the comfy feeling but hate the resulting back pain. Most pillows put your head in an unnatural position, which puts pressure on your neck and spine, causing pain and poor sleep. If you can’t imagine sleeping without a pillow, find one that adjusts to your own measurements, and put another one between or under your knees. These sleeping positions have been proven to relieve the stress placed on your spine.
5. You’re washing dishes the wrong way.
Bending over your sink while washing the dishes puts pressure on your lower back, causing muscles in this area to strain. When you maintain this position for a few minutes, you might be hurting your back daily. To avoid straining your lower back, put one leg on a small stool. This will help you to adjust your posture and keep you from stretching your back.
6. You take the stairs often.
While going up and downstairs is generally considered a healthy habit, it’s not the best way to stay fit if you have existing low back pain. If you suffer from knee or back pain, it’s better to consult your doctor before using the stairs as a way to exercise more.
7. You’re reading in bed.
The habit of reading a few pages of your favorite book before you go to sleep can lead to stiffness in your shoulders and back. When we recline while reading in bed, it causes tension in the spine and muscles in the lower back, which leads to pain. If reading a book before going to sleep helps you relax after a busy day, invest in a chair with good spinal support.