5 Harmful Habits for Your Spine

Are You Increasing Your Risk of Back Pain?

We all have bad habits some of the time. But now is a good time to fix the bad habits that can be harmful to your spine and cause back pain. Here are the top 5 bad habits that can be harmful to your spine: 

#1 Twisting when Lifting
So many people make this mistake! We forget to check our body mechanics while lifting, yet too much of this type of movement can be very damaging to your back. When lifting, follow these steps:

lifting incorrectly, back pain
Wrong!

• Get close to the object
• Bend your knees and grasp the object firmly
• Lift straight up (don't twist!) in one fluid motion
• Hold the object close to your body
• Move close to where you want to place the object
• Bend your knees when lowering the object

 

posture
Stand tall!

 

#2 Bad Posture
How often to you think about your posture? If you're like most people, not often enough.

But bad posture—slouched shoulders, head down, knees locked—places an enormous amount of stress on the spine.

Good posture keeps your body in balance and helps avoid that stress. Here's what good posture looks like when standing:

• Feet slightly apart
• Knees straight
• Chin slightly tucked in
• Shoulders back

Be sure to check and correct your posture during your everyday activities.

Soon you will find that you are actually more comfortable when your spine is in balance!

#3 Too Little Exercise, Too Much Weight

pool exercise
Exercise can be fun!

A sedentary lifestyle has become all too common in our society today. Eventually our spines will pay the price. In fact, research shows that people who do not exercise regularly and are overweight are more likely to suffer from back injures and pain. To keep that from happening to you, get up and get moving! Find a way to put exercise into your daily activities. Not only will it help keep your spine healthy, it will help you to shed those unwanted pounds and feel great, too!

#4 Ignoring the Pain
None of us like going to the doctor, but persistent back pain should not be ignored. If you suffer from persistent, chronic, or recurring back pain, see your doctor. In most cases there is an easy, non-surgical treatment that can return you to a pain free life. However, if left untreated or allowed to progress, back pain can lead to serious and severe disability.

woman with neck pain
Don't ignore unresolved pain.

#5 Smoking

tobacco use smoking man with cigarette in mouth Among the many harmful effects of cigarette smoking on the body, early and more severe degeneration of the back is getting more and more attention. Nicotine—in any form—blocks the transport of oxygen and important nutrients to the spine's discs. Starved of oxygen, the discs are much less able to repair themselves and tend to collapse at a much earlier age than is seen in non-smokers. This painful collapse—degenerative disc disease—can lead to chronic back pain. Moreover, should any surgery be needed, smokers have been found to have much slower healing times and a high rate of failure to heal.

 

Updated on: 02/29/16
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Back Pain Center: Upper, Mid Back, Low and Lower Back

Back pain is one of the most common reasons people self-treat and seek medical care. When we speak about “back pain” we mean pain that originates in the spine anywhere between the upper and lower back.
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