Most people know that picking up heavy object with improper form can cause strain or injury. Another common factor is being overweight. According to research published by the Arthritis & Rheumatism journal, the obese are more susceptible to disc degeneration in their lower back. Conversely, underweight individuals are significantly less likely to develop degenerative disc disease.
Sitting for long periods of time can also put pressure on the lower back, in large part because most people sit with bad posture not using their abdominal muscles, which puts even more pressure on the back. Doctors warn office workers that bending over while sitting in their chairs to pick something up from the floor can actually result in rupturing a disk.
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke suggests officer workers and others who need to sit for long periods of time to take regular breaks to get up and walk around and to elevate their feet on something like a phone book or short stool.
Sleep is supposed to be a time for the body to rest and rejuvenate but using an overly firm or overly soft mattress could contribute to ongoing back pain. Dr. Richard Deyo from the Oregon Health and Sciences University in Portland admits there hasn’t been extensive research on what type of mattress best prevents back pain, he reports that a 2003 study suggested that medium-firm mattresses seemed to result in fewer back problems, possible because it’s firm enough to keep the spinal column from sagging but yielding enough so that the spine can move naturally.
Also, being unable to get restful sleep can also contribute to lower back discomfort because the disks rehydrate while we sleep. Without proper sleep, our disks can dehydrate leading to chronic conditions.
Many parents develop lower back pain from carrying their children around, especially giving piggy back rides. The same principals should be used to pick up children as picking up boxes or other heavy objects—which can be difficult since boxes don’t wiggle or squirm.
As if there weren’t already enough reasons not to smoke, add back pain to the list. Medical experts explain that smoking exacerbates disk deterioration. So not only will you breathe better but you’ll have a healthier back if you kick the habit.