We already know sitting all day at our desk jobs only makes back pain worse, but experts say there are plenty of other reasons why this pain continues to be so common.
Dr. Raminder Badyal, a chiropractor of the Downtown Wellness Centre based in Vancouver, says people continue to ignore back pain because they think it will go away on its own.
“Or they’ve been given some improper advice on why it’s happening and what to do with it,” he tells Global News, adding more people turn to over-the-counter medication for their back, instead of reaching out to a specialist.
“[This] medication is masking the issue and not addressing the underlying cause.”
Badyal adds while medication or even stretching can act as a quick fix, talking to an expert will help you figure out exactly why your back hurts.
“You have to find somebody who can diagnose the cause of the problem, and upon that you can go to the second tier and take care of it on your own,” he continues, adding lifestyle factors like stress and nutrition also come in play.
Dr. Kristine Lyons, a chiropractor at Toronto’s King West Chiropractic Health Centre, says you should never ignore pain anywhere on your back either, especially if it re-occurs.
“People may have symptoms that go away and they think it’s OK,” she tells Global News. “But the pain can get more intense and nerves can get pinched or inflamed. When the nervous system can’t work optimally, the body can’t work optimally.”
She says for some people, back pain can lead to pain in other parts of the body including the neck, shoulders and legs.
And while back pain is no overnight fix, Lyons adds there are things to consider. Think about your posture, how often you are looking down at your laptop or phone, and if you’re chained to your desk job, try getting up and walking every hour.
Below, Lyons shares some of the most common reasons you may be dealing with back pain.
Improper form at the gym can lead to all kinds of injuries, Lyons notes, but for back pain in particular, there are certain exercises to be mindful of. Deadlifts, she adds, which are great for strengthening the back and core, can also result in lower back pain if they are not done with proper form.
This may be one of those everyday habits you don’t even consider. “A lot of the time it’s on one shoulder or a backpack carried on one side… this is causing strain,” she says. Since the majority of us have a dominant side, we tend to forget to switch things up when it comes to bags. Other times, Lyons adds, people just don’t wear their gear right. For example, she has many clients with back pain who wear loose-strapped backpacks, for example, instead of tightening the straps.
It’s so easy to bend down and pick something off the ground, Lyons says, but often, most of us aren’t thinking about our form. “If you are not bending with your knees, you’re putting more pressure on your back,” she adds.
While gardening is supposed to be a meditative activity, Lyon says most people tend to be bent over for hours at a time. “Sometimes you don’t realize [the pain] until you stand up or have trouble the next day.”
With busy parenting lives, Lyons says many people don’t consider how their daily routine can affect their backs. Some tend to carry their children on one side or don’t bend with their knees if they’re picking up their child or toys off the floor. “Even taking car seats in and out of the car or pushing the stroller [with bad posture] can cause pain,” she says.
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