You should stop tolerating these 9 habits that may be causing your back pain.
- Sitting for longer than 30 minutes.
Sitting weakens your glute muscles which could cause low back pain. It shortens your hip flexors, specifically your psoas muscle which can cause low back pain. Get up and move every 30 minutes to decrease the strain in the lower back and increase the blood flow to your spinal muscles. Follow the 40/60 sit/stand ratio.
Sleeping on your stomach can flatten the natural curve in the back leading to back pain. It also places the most weight on the lower back. It will force you to rotate your head to one side or the other. Now you have lower back and neck pain/stiffness. Try sleeping on the side with pillow supporting the top leg. This will prevent you from turning to your stomach. You do not have to be pregnant to use this technique.
- Crossing your legs.
Crossings your legs creates pelvis imbalance where the pelvis moves sideways forcing an overstretch in the top leg glute muscles. The deep glute muscles are used to stabilize the pelvis so that the hip bones are parallel to the floor. When one side is weaker than the other this will result in pelvic tilt, uneven weight distribution, functional short leg on one side and unnecessary wear and tear on one side.
- Keeping your wallet in your back pocket.
Whether you sit or stand keeping your wallet in the back pocket is a bad idea. It could compress your sciatic nerve causing sciatica. It also puts pressure on the piriformis muscle – deep external hip rotator muscle causing piriformis syndrome. It causes strain and weakness in the hip on the side you wear your wallet.
- Stretching your lower back.
The soft tissue (muscles, ligaments, fascia and tendons) in the lower back simply are not designed to support the load of the torso. Think of core stability. The core is made up of your abdominal and posterior back muscles. We are all very in tuned that we need strong core. So why are we stretching the back. We need to be strengthening the back and stretching the hips and the leg muscles in order to prevent lower back pain.
- Sitting with your legs elevated.
We are all guilty of sitting on the couch and lifting our feet on the coffee table. Any time your feet and knees are at the level of your hips or higher your back flattens out. Hip flexors tighten and the back joints strain. Instead try sitting on the floor with a wedge or a pillow under your sit bones. For comfort you may have your back against the wall or the couch.
- Caring your purse or backpack on the same side.
Carrying a purse on one side elevates the shoulder on the same side and compresses the back on the opposite side. This could lead to a slight functional scoliosis, change in gait and weight distribution.
Locking your knees will cause you to shift your belly forward and compress the joints in the lower back. Over time the muscles tighten over the back and you end up having a tight and stiff back.
- Doing sit ups
Stop doing sit ups. During sit ups you cannot isolate the abdominal muscles. Especially when the abdominals are weak we start recruiting the hip flexors. When the hip flexors become tight or too strong they start tugging on the lumbar spine and we have back pain. Instead of sit ups try planks on the floor, and then on the ball.
Breaking habits is not an easy task. Take one bad habit at a time and work on it. At the end of the day a little consciousness and not tolerating the 9 bad habits that may cause your back pain will save your back on a long run.
As always stay well adjusted. Visit your trusted chiropractor at Chiro-Health when in pain, but most importantly to maintain your spinal health and wellness.