According to the American Chiropractic Association, 31 million Americans experience low back pain at any given time. But what causes it? And more importantly, what can we do to find relief? Let’s take a look at five common causes of low back pain and explore some simple solutions.
1. Poor Posture
One of the most common causes of low back pain is poor posture. If you find yourself sitting hunched over your computer or standing with your weight shifted to one hip, it’s no wonder your back is hurting! Although it's not as easy as it sounds, one simple fix is to correct your posture. Make a conscious effort to sit up straight and evenly distribute your weight when you’re standing. Doing regular posture-focused exercises is a good way to encourage your body in the right direction. It may take some practice, but your back will thank you in the long run.
2. Weak Core Muscles
Your “core” muscles include everything from your abdominal muscles to the muscles in your lower back, and even includes muscles of the pelvic floor. These muscles work together to support your spine and keep your body upright. If they are weak, it puts extra strain on your back and can lead to pain. The good news is that there are plenty of exercises you can do to strengthen your core muscles. Pilates and yoga are two great options. An option that we offer at Nostos is a specific exercise plan. After undergoing a functional movement assessment and complete posture analysis, we will have an idea of exactly what muscle groups you need to target, and we can custom build a unique set of exercises to help you achieve the best possible results.
3. Wearing High Heels
We know, we know—it’s hard to give up those cute shoes! But wearing high heels day after day can cause low back pain by throwing off your posture and putting extra strain on your spine. If you must wear heels, try to limit it to special occasions and always choose a pair with a lower heel (two inches or less). You might also want to consider investing in a comfortable pair of flats or low heels that you can wear during the week. Your feet—and your back—will thank you.
4. Sleeping on an Old Mattress
If you’ve had the same mattress for 10 years, it might be time for an upgrade. A mattress that’s too soft will cause your spine to sag, while one that’s too hard will not provide enough support and can lead to stiffness and pain in the morning. Look for a mattress that’s medium-firm—not too soft and not too hard—for the best support while you sleep. And be sure to replace it every 5-7 years so it doesn’t start losing its shape and causing you discomfort.
You might not realize it, but stress can actually contribute to low back pain. When we’re stressed, our bodies tense up, which can lead to muscle aches and pains—including in our backs. If stress is a frequent cause of your low back pain, there are some things you can do to help reduce it. Exercise is a great way to relieve stress, as is meditation or deep breathing exercises. You might also want reading or listening to music, or take a warm bath, before bedtime to help you relax and get a good night’s sleep—which is important for reducing stress levels!
6. Spinal Alignment
A lot of people overlook the massive changes that you can feel due to subtle misalignments of the spine. These changes can cause joints to move against each other uncomfortably. The discs between the low back vertebrae can also become pinched which can contribute to soreness. Getting your spinal health evaluated by a chiropractor is a great idea, as even simple misalignments can become very painful and last a long time.
Low back pain is a common problem that affects millions of Americans every year. While there are many potential causes of low back pain, some of the most common include poor posture, weak core muscles, wearing high heels, sleeping on an old mattress, stress, and spinal alignment. Fortunately, there are also many simple solutions that can help alleviate low back pain such as exercising regularly, practicing good posture, investing in comfortable shoes, getting a new mattress every few years, and getting evaluated by a chiropractor. By understanding the causes of low back pain and taking steps to prevent it, you can keep yourself feeling healthy and happy for years to come!
At Nostos Chiropractic, we're happy to help people make improvements to the state of their spinal health by doing a thorough evaluation, which includes a posture analysis, functional movement assessment, chiropractic spinal scan, relevant orthopaedic testing, and we can take any necessary x-rays on site. If you have been looking for a thorough evaluation of how your body is functioning, book an assessment with one of our doctors.