The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a survey in 2011 asking Americans if they had suffered back pain in the past three months. According to this survey, nearly 60 percent of Americans reported back pain, nearly 30 percent of whom were women. While it may seem that back pain is unavoidable, you may have the ability to minimize your pain by making a few changes in your everyday life.
According to David Westerdahl, M.D. and Medical Director at the Cleveland Clinic in Florida, simple everyday choices are often to blame for back pain.
Incorrect lifting habits are a chief culprit of back pain. Moms, for example, spend much of their day lifting babies or toddlers and picking up toys. A common mistake made when attempting to lift something is curving the back to pick something up and straightening the back while lifting the object. This habit forces the back muscles to endure the impact of the weight.
Solution: When you lift, bend your knees until you are in the squatting position keeping your back straight. Take the object while lifting with your leg muscles and straighten your knees.
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Here are some other tips when lifting objects:
- Keep objects close to your body, the further away the object the more stress you put on your back.
- Never twist, turn or pivot while you lift. Point your feet toward the item you are lifting and face it while picking it up. Use your feet to change direction not your waist.
- Look up, when you pick-up. Looking upwards helps ensure a straight back and proper lifting form.
- Get help with heavy objects. Don’t be a hero – ask for help if something is very heavy and you can avoid injury!
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, your shoes could be the source of some of your back problems.
Solution: The academy states that women should not wear a heel that is higher than two and a quarter inches. They also suggest that if you wear high-heel shoes to work, wear a more comfortable shoe while you are walking outside. Consider storing your high-heels at your office.
When purchasing new shoes:
- Try shoes on at the end of the day because your feet may swell after sitting or standing all day.
- Try both the right and left shoes on.
- Shoes with some kind of strapping mechanism (buckles, laces, Velcro) provide added arch support.
The weight of your laptop and the way you carry it may be causing additional discomfort in your back.
Solution: If possible, wear your laptop bag across your body like a messenger bag. If your laptop is of substantial weight, aim for one of the newer models that are slimmer and lighter. You can see some of these newer models at sites like Lenovo. Also, if you don’t need your laptop, leave it at home.
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Your Purse/Diaper Bag
Even your purse or diaper bag can be causing you to suffer with lower back pain. Anything hanging over your shoulder should not exceed 10 percent of your body weight. That means at 140 pounds your bag should weigh no more than 14 pounds.
Solution: Get into the habit of only carrying essential items in your purse and diaper bag. Always pack the heavier items in the bottom or center. The best way to carry a purse or diaper bag is across your body. Switch sides frequently.
Simple adjustments to your lifestyle can impact your health significantly. Take care to implement these tips in your life!