Bad Habits That Are Causing Back Pain and Damaging Your Spine

Your spine is your lifeline. It supports you, helps you stand uptight, bears your weight and plays a major role in the nervous system.

Even a slight damage or injury to your spine can impact your overall health. You may not even realize but doing certain everyday things can actually cause the spine damage. Hence, before doing the following activities, you must watch your back.

Low back pain is a common problem affecting most adults at some point during their lifetime. At any one time, around 1 in 5 adults will report symptoms of low back pain, rising to 40% when asked if they have experienced symptoms during the previous month.

The majority of people who experience an episode of low back pain will improve over time. However a sizeable proportion experience repeated episodes or recurrences, and some report continuous symptoms for many years.

Smoking. Nicotine restricts blood flow to the disks that cushion your vertebrae and increases the rate of degeneration, Shin says. This loss of cushioning can cause back pain.

Cigarette smoking also reduces calcium absorption and prevents new bone growth, leaving smokers with an increased risk for osteoporosis (brittle, fragile bones) and slower healing after bone fractures, which can cause back pain, according to NINDS. Additionally, coughing from heavy smoking can cause back pain.

Improper lifting technique.

Bad habits while lifting is extremely common. Due to the extra strain lifting a heavy object puts on your joints, muscles and spine, body mechanics while lifting are extremely important. A small error can cause serious injury.

Some common lifting tips include never bending from the waist when lifting. Instead, bend from the knees and use your legs to support the weight of the object being lifted. Make sure you have a good grip on the object, are holding it close to your body and, most importantly, never twist while lifting. Always lift in a fluid, straight up-and-down movement.

Lack of exercise

Leading an active lifestyle is important for people of all ages, shapes and sizes. It is especially important for people with back conditions like bone spurs, arthritis of the spine and bulging discs, because a lack of exercise can lead to weight gain, muscle stiffness and other factors that contribute to neck or back pain. An ideal exercise routine should consist of about 30 minutes of activity, three to five times a week.

Try to choose an activity you enjoy; if you like what you’re doing, chances are that it’ll be easier to stick to a regimen. Remember that exercising doesn’t have to mean hitting the treadmill hard. If the gym bores you or makes you anxious, try yoga or Pilates, martial arts, dance classes or other alternate forms of exercise.

Standing while working

In many cases, the pain you have from standing is from developing an excessive anterior pelvic tilt. This happens when your pelvis is tilting too far forward, causing an exaggerated lumbar curve. This causes a severe lumbar disc imbalance, pinching of the disc, risk of bulge, herniation or degeneration.

Anterior pelvic tilt is a very common but treatable source of lower back pain.
It also causes your facet joints in your spine to pinch causing you a great deal of irritation and soreness. It’s the discomfort from this pressure that you may be feeling the most.

A disruption of circadian rhythm

Circadian rhythm disorders are disruptions in a person’s circadian rhythm—a name given to the "internal body clock" that regulates the (approximately) 24-hour cycle of biological processes in animals and plants. The term circadian comes from Latin words that literally mean "around the day."

The key feature of circadian rhythm disorders is a continuous or occasional disruption of sleep patterns. The disruption results from either a malfunction in the "internal body clock" or a mismatch between the "internal body clock" and the external environment regarding the timing and duration of sleep. As a result of the circadian mismatch, individuals with these disorders usually complain of insomnia at certain times and excessive sleepiness at other times of the day, resulting in work, school, or social impairment.

Wearing heels

Wearing heels forces your ankles to bend forward, like you're standing on your tip toes. This can cause a series of health problems. It restricts blood circulation in your lower limbs which can lead to spider veins, it can also shorten the muscles in your calves and stiffen your Achilles tendon, leading to pain and muscle spasms.

But the pain doesn't just occur in your legs and feet. Heels can also cause back and knee problems. For your body to stay balanced on heels, your spine needs to sway unnaturally, which adds stress to the muscles in your spine. This results in a sore lower back.

If you're experiencing any of these issues, it's important to visit a doctor before they get worse. To prevent these issues from occurring, try to decrease the amount of days you wear heels — or change into flats or walking shoes when you leave work.

At the end of each day, spend a few minutes stretching your quads, calves and hip flexors. Fashion doesn't have to be synonymous with pain.

Cannot get enough rest/sleep

While it’s common knowledge that pain can cause bad sleep, a recent study shows that bad sleep can also cause pain. The study focused on patients over the age of 50. At the beginning of the study all patients reported being free of widespread pain.

The study found that subjects were more likely to experience the onset of widespread musculoskeletal pain over the three year study if they also experienced “non-restorative” sleep. After the three years nearly half of the patients now suffered with pain and a quarter considered their pain “widespread.” While research is still needed to find the true connection between lack of quality sleep and the onset of pain, it is apparent that the better sleep you get, the better your body feels.


When we’re stressed, the body secretes stress hormones, which are stimulants, into the bloodstream where they travel to targeted spots in the body to bring about specific physiological, psychological, and emotional changes that enhance the body’s ability to deal with a threat—to either fight with or flee from it—which is the reason the stress response is often referred to as the fight or flight response.

One of the tasks stress hormones perform is to cause muscles in the body to contract (tighten). Tight muscles make the body more resilient to attack when in dangerous situations.

Unfortunately, when stress is caused by anxiety (worry, fretting, fearful thinking) and not by a real physical threat where tight muscles may be beneficial for survival, the body still prepares against danger the same way, by causing muscles to tense and tighten, including the muscles in the back. Back pain, tension, and stiffness are all common symptoms of stress- and anxiety-caused muscle tension.

Using mobile phones

A recent study shows that 79% of the population between the ages 18 and 44 have their cell phones with them almost all the time—with only 2 hours of their waking day spent without their cell phone on hand.

Of course, this posture of bending your neck to look down does not occur only when texting. For years, we've all looked down to read. The problem with texting is that it adds one more activity that causes us to look down—and people tend to do it for much longer periods. It is especially concerning because young, growing children could possibly cause permanent damage to their cervical spines that could lead to lifelong neck pain.

Though this habit has become a part of our lifestyle, we have forgotten what immense harm it is causing our health. Craning your neck to use your smartphone or tilting your neck while talking on the phone puts a lot of pressure on your backbone.

Note: Keep moving a lot so that our muscles will stretch and relax, it can help to avoid back pain. Doing sports may help and exercise (like yoga) it may help too.
SOURCE: BrightSide
Bad Habits That Are Causing Back Pain and Damaging Your Spine Bad Habits That Are Causing Back Pain and Damaging Your Spine Reviewed by LVS Staff on September 18, 2018 Rating: 5
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