It came in waves that made her clutch her back in agony and tears. Chika could remember clearly the first time she had back pain. She had just got out of bed and felt a little discomfort. She stretched and twisted and waited for it to go away. But, it did not. 3 years later, and the little discomfort had turned into a constant wave of pain.
According to Mayo clinic “back pain is one of the most common reasons people go to the Doctor or miss work and a leading cause of disability worldwide”
Back pain can come as a sudden sharp pain that disappears or it can be a dull and constant nagging pain that is “just there”
Some back pains just appear on its own without any known cause while others are triggered by your lifestyle.
Listed below are some of the major causes of back pain
People who sit and work at a desk or sit and watch TV for more than 4 hours a day can develop back pain with time.
Lifting heavy weights and being involved in a job that makes you bend down for hours can also cause back pain.
People who work in farms that bend down to do their work mostly develop back pain.
Sitting in a hunched position or walking with your body bent forward overtime is an invitation to back pain.
The way your body is designed, your spine is meant to bear your weight. When you are overweight it places an excessive burden on the spine which could damage the spine and cause pain.
Poor physical fitness
Back pain can be caused by lack of use or sedentary lifestyle. When you do not use your muscle, you may experience muscle atrophy or wasting. A new car that is used once and parked at a spot for months and years will develop problems because it is just lying there. Most Doctors agree that lack of physical activity and fitness is a major cause of back pain. Exercise helps the body to transport nutrients to the body efficiently. When done properly certain exercises can strengthen the back and core muscle.
As you get older the space around your spinal cord becomes narrower. The disk between the vertebrae also starts to shrink and wear away. This causes your bones to rub against each other and leads to pain and stiffness.
Weight gain and posture change during pregnancy is a major cause of back pain for women. Most women gain between 10 -15 kg during pregnancy. The weight gain is fast (9 months) and puts stress on the spine which will have to provide the support the body needs.
Wearing high heels for long periods while standing or walking can put pressure on your spine. Most women who wear high heels for more than 5 hours daily complain of back pain.
When was the last time you change your mattress? 4 years? 8 years? How is your mattress? Is it firm, squishy or worn? A mattress that is too hard can worsen back pain just as a soft mattress. A medium firm mattress may be best. Try laying on a mattress before buying it to see if it is alright for your back.
Heavy hand bags and school bag
Open a woman’s bag and you will see items that are small but quiet heavy that can cause back and shoulder pain. You will see key holders; make up, phones and even groceries that have been stuffed inside the bag. This is unhealthy for your back. The effect of a heavy bag is more obvious in school children as it may lead to a hunched back and pain. Check your bag and your child’s bag regularly and remove unnecessary things.
Exercises to avoid
You may expect that staying in bed and not exercising will be the best for you when you have back pain, but this is far from truth. Unless your Doctor orders you to stay in bed, you should not. Staying in or avoiding exercise will further weaken your back muscle. Exercise is one of the best things to help relieve back pain but there are some exercises that can make back pain worse and should be avoided.
Before we look at the exercise, stretches and yoga to relieve back pain and strengthen your back, let us look at the exercise you should stop doing immediately.
Sit ups and crunches
Sit ups is not the answer to your quest for a flat tummy. It is one of the causes of back pain. It puts a lot of stress on your spine.
According to Harvard health, sit ups push your curved spine against the floor and work the muscle that run from your thighs to the lumbar vertebrae in your lower back. When this muscle is too tight, they tug on your lower spine and cause back discomfort.
Again the muscle that really lifts your legs during the leg lift is the same muscle that runs from your thigh to the lumbar vertebrae in your lower back also called hip flexor. Over extension of the hip flexor can cause back pain
Toe touches are meant to stretch the back of your legs (hamstring), but they can hurt your back. Toe touches can overstretch your lower back muscle and cause stress to the ligaments in your spine according to WebMD. This can lead to back pain, especially lower back pain.
Any repetitive action that is high impact and involves long duration can cause back pain. Jogging is repetitive and jarring. It is also mostly done on a hard surface, which could be bad for your back. Even though jogging may sometimes not be the primary cause of back pain, if you already have back pain, it can make it worse.
The International Tennis Federation says that lower back pain is common among tennis players. Twisting, extension and rotation are movements that are common in tennis. They put excessive stress on the spine and cause pain.
Now that you know the major causes of back pain and the exercise you should avoid, what can you do to relieve the pain?
In my next post i will be showing you exercise and other tips that will help you to manage and avoid back.