Back pain is a fairly common condition, affecting an estimated 80 percent of the population at least once in their lives, according to the American Chiropractic Association. However, treatment is tricky.
"The challenge is that you can't see injuries to tendons, ligaments and muscles the way you can bone fractures and herniated disks," Jeffrey Katz, a professor of medicine and orthopedic surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, told Fitness magazine.
Because these injuries are hard to detect, preventing them is key. To do so, you must know the different common causes of back pain and how to avoid them. Here is part one of our two-part series on these risk factors:
Sitting in front of a computer all day
If you work a desk job, it's hard to avoid the consistent 40 hours a week in front of a computer. Those who spend their workdays in front of a screen, though, are putting themselves at risk for back pain. According to Dr. Katz, sitting all day puts pressure on disks and vertebrae. It doesn't help that we tend to hunch over when using technology – a habit that exacerbates discomfort along the spine.
Be sure to take frequent breaks from technology throughout the day so you can stretch and give your back a break. While at your desk, you can increase lumbar support by purchasing an ergonomic chair or seat cushion. Keep your feet firmly planted on the ground and maintain a 90-degree angle with your arms and knees.
Skipping work outs
Exercise is one of the best ways to treat and prevent back pain, since it can strengthen the muscles that support your spine. When you're sedentary, your muscles weaken and are more prone to injury.
Be sure to follow a fitness routine and target core muscles – located around your abdomen – to make sure you're getting the most effective workout for your back. Even light exercises, like swimming and yoga, can help you recover faster from back pain. According to a study from the Archives of Internal Medicine, 60 percent of patients with back pain who engaged in these activities reported feeling less discomfort after three months.
If you're experiencing back pain due to one or more of these factors, schedule an appointment with a professional chiropractor today.