According to the National Institutes of Health, the vast majority of Americans will suffer from back pain during their lives. While most people are careful to avoid the more obvious causes of pack problems—lifting heavy items the wrong way, sitting for too many hours in the course of the day, or wearing high heels—Dr. Venu Akuthota, director of the Spine Center at the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, Colorado, says it’s the little things that often precipitate back pain.
For example, women who carry over-sized and over weighted purses are more prone to back issues. So are smart phone addicts who hunch over their devices texting and tweeting all day. That subtle strain on your spine and the surrounding muscles day after day can over time make you more vulnerable to injury.
Don’t assume that expensive ergonomic chair with the lumbar support is going to save your back. It may help but sitting is sitting because it reduces the blood flow to the discs that cushion your spine and puts a third more pressure on the spine than standing or walking. So get up and walk around or stretch at least once an hour. When sitting, keep your head is straight and not angled down. Many office supply stores sell standing work stations or desk stands for laptops. Tilting your seat back a little can also reduce pressure on your back as can keeping your feet firmly on the floor.
High heels get the lion’s share of attention but other shoes can cause just as many problems. Flip-flops and other backless styles let your heel can slide around, creating an instability that causes an uneven distribution of your body weight and puts more pressure on your spine.
A rarely discussed issue is how large breasted women are more at risk for back and neck problems. Experts say that buying a properly fitting bra that offers proper support can actually help improve posture and relieve pain. A T-back or racer-back offer even extra support.
Weekend softball games and pick-up basketball games are responsible for a lot of aches and pains but even a sedate activity like gardening can prompt a bout of back pain. In fact, chiropractors in cold climates report a spike in patients every spring from people wanting to work in the gardens at the first sign of spring.
Practitioners recommend taking a short walk and do some stretches before doing planting or weeding. Also, be careful not bend over while twisting and lifting at the same time.
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