5 Lifestyle Habits That Fuel Back Pain

Back pain is one of the most common complaints among adults in the United States, especially as you get older. Whether you sleep poorly due to backaches, take too many anti-inflammatory pain medications to get through a day at your desk, or limit activities due to back pain, the aches and discomfort you face can really damage your daily quality of life.

Instead of continuing to rely on pain medications, why not refocus your attention on the lifestyle habits that could be contributing to your back pain? You might be surprised by how much your condition can improve without the need for surgeries or drugs.

At Performance Spine & Sports Medicine, our care team provides holistic treatment and support to relieve back pain complaints. New and existing patients can seek treatment at one of our six facilities in three states.

Here are just some of the changes we often recommend to help our patients find relief from their back pain. What changes are you going to make this spring?

1. Slumping

Your parents were right. Posture really does make a difference! If you’ve slipped into poor posture habits, you might be putting unneeded pressure on your spine, leading to recurring back pain. Bad posture can eventually cause you to develop a spinal hernia, requiring professional treatment and care.

In order to relieve your back pain, pay attention to hunching and slumping. When you sit down to relax, make sure your spine is supported. Stand with your spine straight and your core muscles engaged, and always lift heavy objects by bending your legs instead of bending at the waist.

2. Stress

When you’re stressed out, you tend to tense up. Hormonal responses cause your muscles to tighten — and that muscle tension can result in pain, as your tissues are deprived of full blood flow. Chronic back pain can become a negative cycle of tension.

Work on productively dealing with stresses in your life, instead of bottling up your emotions. Techniques like meditation, or even just a scheduled workout, can help you get your stress under control and out of your muscles.

3. Missing sleep

It can be tempting to skip out on sleep from time to time. Work, family, and social needs can all seem more important than a full night’s sleep. However, if you suffer from frequent back pain, you should know that sleep is key to managing chronic pain complaints.

When you don’t get enough sleep, your body releases stress hormones that cause muscle tension and lower your pain tolerance. Avoid these disturbances by letting your body rest fully and regularly. You may need to change your evening habits in order to resolve sleep problems like insomnia.

4. Trigger foods

Foods including refined carbohydrates like flour, as well as processed foods, can increase inflammation in your body. If you eat too much white bread or pasta, sugary baked goods, or processed meat, you might be causing pain and inflammation in your back.

To see if your diet can work for you, instead of against you, try skipping red meat and eating a plant-heavy diet with moderate amounts of proteins like fish and skinless chicken. Healthy fats like those contained in some fish and nuts, as well as in avocados and olive oil, can help to reduce your inflammation and pain levels.

5. Inactivity

Chronic back pain might make you want to stay home and rest, but inactivity can contribute to muscle aches and back pain problems. Don’t let yourself off the hook for regular exercise and activity.

Instead, make sure to stay active. You may need to find activities like yoga or swimming that don’t worsen your aches and pains. If you can increase your daily activity levels even moderately, you could reap significant benefits for your overall health and wellness, including lessened chronic pain.

For an evaluation of your back pain, get in touch with the experts at Performance Spine & Sports Medicine today. You can schedule a consultation by calling our office most convenient to you or requesting an appointment online today. 

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