Surprising Causes of Back Strain

shutterstock_136480049You’re not lifting anything heavy—and you’re religiously following the treatment plan your PT prescribed. So why are you experiencing stiffness, discomfort in your buttocks and legs, and pain that worsens when you bend, cough or sneeze?

Here are some less obvious causes of back strain—and how to avoid them:

Sitting all day. Sitting puts 30% more pressure on your spine than standing or walking. It also reduces blood flow to the discs that cushion your spine. You have to work, so what can you do? Simple: Do stretches at your desk, and take a short walk every hour. When you’re typing or reading, make sure your head is straight; avoid slouching; and keep your feet planted on the floor.

Wearing backless shoes. You know heels are bad for you, but did you know that flats and flip-flops can strain your back? That’s because they distribute your body weight unevenly. Your shoes should hold your feet in place. And if you must wear heels, look for ones that are less than three inches high.

Muffin top. Whether you’ve got a bit too much belly fat or you’re pregnant, your back will pay the price. Excess weight in your midsection causes your pelvis to tilt forward, which can stress your lower back. Focus on slimming down, and talk with us about exercises you can do to ease the strain.

You’re a new mom. If you’ve got a baby, chances are you’ll develop some low back pain. Lifting the baby in and out of the crib and car—and carrying your little one in the car seat—can strain your back big time. The best way to protect yourself? When you hold your child, keep him close to the center of your body. Don’t hold him in one arm or balanced on one hip. When carrying him in his car seat, keep your back straight and your shoulders back to avoid straining your back and neck.

You’re an avid gardener. Gardening is exercise, and exercise is good for your back, right? Well, bending over can take a toll on your spine. Some tips for tilling pain-free: Keep one foot on the ground while kneeling; use knee pads to absorb the pressure; and bend at your knees to avoid straining your back. Use a wheelbarrow to move heavy items, and change positions frequently to steer clear of stiffness.

If you’re struggling with back pain, consider making an appointment with us. Many of our patients get back to a pain-free life in a short amount of time.

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