Nearly all adults will experience minor neck or back pain in their lifetime. In fact, it is estimated that 31 million Americans experience lower back pain at any given time. Fortunately for the majority of adults, only 10% of these cases are severe and debilitating. Many causes of back neck pain are common knowledge, such as old mattresses, strains from heavy lifting, or whiplash. However, there are some surprising habits that may be the source of your back and neck pain throughout the day.
- “Text neck” – Your addiction to your smartphone or tablet may be affecting your posture more than you realize. The leaning forward, hunched-over position can strain in your neck and upper back and cause minor pain or “text neck.” Holding your phone at eye level and taking breaks from your phone goes a long way to prevent or reduce this pain.
- Old shoes or flip flops – Reducing back pain starts from the bottom up! Shoes that lack proper support, such as flip flops and shoes with worn-down soles, can throw off your alignment and cause significant lower back pain. Wearing comfortable, supportive shoes and getting rid of older shoes can help you avoid this common cause.
- Smoking – Smoking is commonly known to cause many health issues from heart disease to lung cancer, but did you know it can also be the source of back pain? Studies show that smoking can cause damage to discs and exacerbate degenerative disc conditions. In fact, smoking increases the risk of surgery and can inhibit the recovery process. Quitting smoking is one the best things you can do for your spine and your overall health.
- Netflix binging – Your weekend catching up on the new season of House of Cards may keep you up to date at the water cooler, but it isn’t helping your back pain. Extended periods of inactivity, especially on soft couches, can disrupt alignment and can cause weight gain over time. Breaking up your couch time or stretching while watching are two great ways to avoid couch potato pain.
- Stress – Stress manifests itself in many ways and has been shown to exacerbate illnesses. Stressful times can also be the cause of psychosomatic pain, where symptoms are thought to be the direct result of psychological or emotional factors. Take time to relax or meditate every day, especially during high-pressure times.
Back and neck pain are very common ailments, and even small fixes can help relieve this pain. However, if this pain becomes chronic or debilitating, it could be the sign of a more severe condition. Contact my office if your pain is ongoing or is affecting your day-to-day life.