According to an Australian health report, more than 3.7 million Aussies experience back pain.
While some back and neck discomfort results from injuries and requires medical treatment, minor back and neck pain mainly stem from lifestyle choices. As such, recognizing the source of the pain can go a long way in helping you find ways to alleviate it.
So what are the day to day things you might be doing that might be causing your back or neck pain?
Here are the most common culprits.
1. Poor Sitting Posture
For people whose jobs require extended hours of sitting, taking up the wrong position can strain the muscles and ligaments in your back and neck. With time, this can cause discomfort.
To prevent this, ensure to use a seat with a back that supports the natural curve of your back.
If you work on a computer or a laptop for long hours, staring down on it strains the muscles at the back of your neck.
The best way to remedy this is by getting a high desk. To protect your neck, ensure that your laptop is as close to eye level as possible.
Similarly, take regular short breaks from your desk to stretch and walk around.
2. An Incorrect Sleeping Position
On average, you spend 7-8 hours sleeping or trying to sleep.
Taking a wrong sleeping position for this number of hours every single night can cause back pain over time.
To ensure you are taking up the right sleep position, select a firm mattress that does not sag.
However, a mattress is only as good as the base it sits on.
For this reason, ensure to get a high-quality solid wood timber bed base to rest your mattress.
The thing is, if the bed base warps over time, a good mattress will still not support your back sufficiently.
For your neck, use a firm pillow that supports the natural curve of your neck.
This is not all. Your favorite sleep position can also cause back pain regardless of how sturdy your mattress and bed base are.
If you are a belly sleeper, this position flattens out the natural curve of your spine, straining your back muscles.
You can reduce the strain by placing a pillow under your lower abdomen.
For back sleepers, place a pillow under your knees to help your back maintain its natural curve.
If you sleep best while lying on your side, place a pillow between your drawn knees. Additionally, you can provide more back support by placing something firm against your back.
This can be a firm pillow or a tightly rolled up blanket.
3. Poor Lifting Form
Aside from poor sleeping postures, incorrect lifting is also known to strain both your neck and back muscles.
When picking up objects lower than your waistline, remember never to bend at your waist. Instead, keep your back straight and lower your body by bending your knees.
Once in position, plant your feet firmly on the ground before grasping the object and coming back up in a stable, controlled movement.
4. Insufficient Exercise
Exercise strengthens your muscles. You do not necessarily have to go to a gym for neck workouts as there are many different exercises you can do even as you carry out regular day to day tasks.
Similarly, look into exercises that aim at strengthening your back and core. Such exercises can help alleviate as well as prevent back pain.
5. Doing Exercise Incorrectly
As important as working out is, exercising incorrectly can injure your back, causing pain.
For this reason, ensure to study how each work out should be done. If you are not working with a trainer, there are many videos online that illustrate proper form.
When to See a Doctor
If your neck and back pain is stemming from lifestyle choices, it should improve within days of making changes.
If it doesn’t, there could be underlying medical factors creating the pain. If this is the case, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible.