Back Pain is No Joke

Composed of 33 vertebrae with discs in between, nerves connecting your body, and ligaments and tendons throughout it, it is no understatement that our backs are complex. So complex, actually, that there are many factors that may contribute to your back pain. Understanding what causes your back to hurt and how you may prevent it can help you feel better as well as more productive.

Your Lifestyle

It should be no surprise your daily activities also play a role in your back pain. After being sedentary at work for most of the week, intesive workouts on weekends are not advised. Instead, you should make an effort to exercise moderately everyday.  Some activities you may consider include yoga, tai chi, or any weight-bearing exercise that challenges your balance while helping your posture.

Will it ever stop?

By making small changes to your routine, your back pain is likely to go away on its own. If you experience numbness or tingling, if the pain is not subsiding with medication and rest after 3 days, or if you suffer pain after a fall or injury, you should visit your doctor. Seek immediate attention if your back pain is accompanied by other symptoms, such as unintentional weight loss, trouble urinating, or fever. Such symptoms could mean something more serious.

Where to Start

To begin, you may consider what it is you do day-in and day-out – your occupation. A common factor related to back pain at work is exerting too much force on your back, such as lifting. Other factors include the repetition of certain movements, as well as bad posture. Some tips to alleviate pain at your desk include:

  • Adjusting your chair’s back, armrests, and height.
  • Setting up your office ergonomically.
  • Doing exercises or stretches for the muscles you use most at work.
  • Walking 10-15 minutes periodically throughout the day.
  • Resting one foot on a stool and switching intermittently if your job requires you to stand for long periods.
  • Lifting heavy objects with your knees and tightening core muscles.
  • Talking on a headset if you are on the phone a lot.
  • Taking medicines as needed. Be sure to talk with your boss if they may make you sleepy, such as narcotic pain relievers or muscle relaxants.

All in all, it is important that you listen to your body. If you feel you are putting stress on your back try correcting your posture, taking a short break from the activity, or asking for assistance.

Sources: The Mayo Clinic and National Institutes of Health

 

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