Back pain is responsible for more absenteeism than any other health problem. It’s incredibly common. I bet everyone has had at least one incident in their lifetime where they did something to their back and spent several days in discomfort. Yes, back pain is no joke.
Here are five of the most common reasons why your back hurts.
Lifting Heavy Boxes
Everyone knows that lifting a heavy box is not especially good for our back, particularly if you treat your waist like a hinge joint. There is a right way and a wrong way to lift heavy things. The right way is to bend the knees and keep the back straight. The wrong way is to ignore that advice and put your back out in the process.
Slouching in Chairs
Back pain caused by too much time spent slouching in a chair is very much a 21st century problem. Millions of people sit in a chair for 8-9 hours a day, barely moving a muscle. Sitting down and leaning forward to stare at a screen is bad, as is slouching in a chair in front of the TV. You are putting strain on the discs in the spine, which will lead to stress and pain.
Weekend warriors love to take part in extreme sports: running marathons, cycling long-distance and tackling assault courses. Exercise is great, but as we age it takes an ever greater toll on your bodies. Repetitive movements and performing exercises badly often cause back strain and pain. So be careful when you pump iron down at the gym, or you could end up on the injury bench for weeks.
Back pain can be caused by the most innocuous of things: twisting awkwardly to lift a basket of ironing or carrying a heavy toddler upstairs to bed and stumbling over a toy. Often it is a case of not thinking about what we are doing when we do a task. Instead of lifting or twisting carefully, we move awkwardly and pull our back in the process. It is a painful lesson to learn.
Driving Long Distance
Driving long distance with very little rest is bad for our back, as it deprives the discs in your back of a regular blood supply. It is always sensible to take regular breaks during long journeys, to stretch your legs, have a drink and something to eat, and free up your spine. If you have to drive long distances for a living, this may not be practical, but there are things you can do to ease back pain caused by driving. A chair support may help – click here for more information.
In most cases, back pain is temporary. A few days spent resting, taking it easy, and applying pain relief gel should do the trick. If the pain doesn’t ease off after a couple of weeks, or it gets worse, you should make an appointment to see your doctor to rule out any underlying health problems, just in case.