Severe back pain is one of the most debilitating and nagging kinds of pain there is, affecting your ability to live an active, productive life each day. Yet constant back pain is extremely common, with some 540 million people worldwide reporting back pain on any given day. Why is this? In part, it has to do with the fact that many aspects of our lives can trigger pain in the back, from diet and exercise to work, sleep, and stress.
Here are some of the ways your lifestyle may be contributing to your constant back pain and a few suggestions for how to curb the pain.
1. You’re Sleeping on the Wrong Mattress – Sleep affects your entire being, from brain to body to mood, and its physical effects are profound on the back. A mattress that’s too soft or forgiving can cause the spine to become curved or misaligned, leading to pain, stiffness, and more serious back issues. Additionally, a lack of sleep leads to stress, which isn’t good for your back. The best thing to do is to sleep on a mattress that’s medium-firm and which provides ample back support.
2. You’re Stressed Out – How does stress affect your back? The body’s response to stress, anxiety, and worry is to tighten up the muscles and spasm. This is because stress hormones are released during times of distress, which causes the body to kick into “fight or flight” mode and tighten the muscles surrounding the spine. This results in lingering pain and knots. If you’re stressed, try stress-relieving self-care and prioritize relaxing back pain relief, such as massage or laser therapy.
3. Your Posture is Bad – Like the way you sleep, the way you sit or stand for prolonged periods throughout the day can have a dramatic effect on the neck, shoulders, and back. Addressing poor posture is a minor thing that can have a massive impact, lessening pain and tension while also addressing some digestion issues.
4. You’re Eating the Wrong Foods – If you have a poor diet, it may be contributing to your back pain. While the food itself is probably not the trigger, the secondary effects caused by being overweight may be. Carrying extra weight puts stress on the structure of your body, which means the spine and muscles must work extra hard each day for the same result. Introducing healthy, anti-inflammatory foods to your diet can help with back support, too.
5. You’re Not Stretching Enough – There are a few specific ways that not stretching the whole body can trigger back pain. For example, tight hamstrings lead to low back pain because they’re shorter and less flexible, so they pull on the lumbar spine and create a curve that leads to pain and stiffness. Another example is tight hip flexors, which can create muscle imbalances that lead to low back pain. Lengthening certain muscles prevents other muscles and ligaments from getting overworked or too stressed out, so stretching the body daily is necessary.
6. You’re Not Exercising Enough – Like stretching, full-body exercise is necessary to properly support the back and spine. There are two primary ways exercise can help the back. First, strengthening exercises—such as weight lifting or resistance training—can help support and structure the spine so it doesn’t become curved or misaligned. Secondly, weight loss exercises can help prevent extra weight and stress from overworking the back. If you are not exercising frequently, you’re setting your back up for lifelong problems.
7. You’re Not Drinking Enough Water – Water is like sleep, in that it’s vital to all of our fundamental bodily processes, yet we barely pay it any mind. When you don’t drink enough water, you become dehydrated and deprive your body of the nutrients it needs to thrive in its best state. Being dehydrated affects the spine and back muscles in a number of ways. The disks in your spine need water to stay hydrated, flexible, and protective, while muscles use water to stave off cramps. One of the first things you should do to address your back pain is to make sure you’re getting enough water from food and drinks each day.
Suffering from constant low back pain? Try the Curavi laser light therapy belt to enjoy a painless, drug-free solution. Coupled with a few simple lifestyle changes, low-level light therapy can do wonders for back pain and revolutionize your life for the better!