Studies show that close to 80% of the world population have suffered or are still suffering from lower back pains. It is also among the most common reasons people seek medical consultation for. This begs the question – why is lower back pain so prevalent and are there any ways for us to prevent it from happening?
There are many factors that can contribute to a higher risk of back pain. Contrary to popular belief, injury and an underlying medical condition are not the main culprits. Here are some of the causes that you might be unaware of!
Carrying excess weight in the form of fat is most often the biggest contributing factor to joint pains. The spine acts as the structural support for the entire body. The disks within the spine must bear the pressure put on it and will wear down significantly faster if it is subjected to excess weight.
Over time, the deterioration of these disks will result in stiffness across the lower back and varying degrees of pain.
2. Poor Core Strength
Abs, abs, abs. How many times have we heard fitness gurus or influencers offer courses to help us strip the layer of fat around our tummies to reveal the muscles underneath? Our society’s fixation on the abdominal muscles borders obsession. We have been influenced to think that having abs is the pinnacle of aesthetics and something everybody should strive for.
Unfortunately, we have lost sight of what the primary function of the abdominal muscles are.
At the most fundamental level, the abdominal muscles (which forms our core muscles) help to support the spine and keep it stable. It maintains proper spinal curvature and acts as a cushion to absorb certain impacts to our spine, drastically reducing your chances of back pain. Hip muscles and gluteus muscles deserve a shout-out as well, as they do also play their respective roles in alleviating the burden on the spine.
3. Sedentary Lifestyles
After work-from-home became the new normal due to COVID-19, many office workers have gotten used to relatively sedentary lifestyles. Having everything you need within reach at home is highly convenient for sure, but this routine has caused many to develop unhealthy habits such as a bad sitting posture, being stationary for long hours, reluctance to go out of the house to get fresh air etc.
All the above are detrimental to our health and can contribute to back pain.
4. Mental Health
Anxiety and depression are two prevalent mental issues in the current society. In both cases, victims suffering from these issues feel pain more intensely than those without. This means that a
small cut that would merely sting to the average person could prove to be 2 or 3 times more painful to someone who’s suffering from mental health issues.
Recent studies also suggest that depression could cause increased inflammation. This, coupled with a lack of motivation to exercise and the increased sensitivity to pain, is a recipe for disaster. It explains why patients with mental issues are so susceptible to back pain, along with a multitude of other physical problems.
So… What Can I Do?
Fret not, back pain can be alleviated as long as you know the cause and take the right steps to rectify it. It might take some time though, so don’t be discouraged!
Exercising on the regular is possibly the most effective and long-term solution to back pain. Strengthening your back and abdominal muscles will relieve much of the pressure on the spine. It will also improve blood circulation around the body and provide many other benefits such as the release of endorphins which could help improve your mood.
Swimming is highly recommended as means resolving back pain issues. When you’re in the water, there is far less pressure on your joints, reducing the pain you might experience during other exercises. In addition, swimming is a full-body workout that engages your back and core along with other major muscle groups. It is the best form of exercise regardless of your level of fitness and has been proven to be highly effective for correcting bad posture through muscle strengthening and memory building. There have been many documented cases of physical rehabilitation through swimming yielding fantastic results.
2. Watch Your Diet
You cannot out-train a bad diet. This is an irrefutable fact. When you consume more calories than you burn on a daily basis, you will eventually start putting on pounds. Our body is not meant to hold onto so much additional weight and will eventually show signs of destress – back pain being one of them.
Switching to a cleaner and healthier diet will set up a good foundation for not only less body pains, but also a healthier life!
3. Pay Attention To Your Posture
If you don’t try to help yourself, nobody will be able to help you either. In your own time, you have to try your best to maintain proper posture and resist the temptation to slump forward. A simple tip is to puff up your chest and push out your butt when you’re standing or walking. Not overtly of course, but in a manner that feels natural and comfortable to you. This is the spine curvature that you should constantly strive to maintain.
A good investment is an ergonomic chair with built-in lumbar support. This will make long hours sitting at a desk much more bearable and keep you in a proper, upright position. You can also consider purchasing and wearing a posture corrector that will do all the work for you. It will ensure the muscles of your body support the skeleton in an alignment that is optimal and stable.
4. Seek Medical Help
Everybody’s body works differently. It will be best to consult a medical professional first to understand your situation and what’s causing the pain. There might very well be underlying conditions you weren’t even aware of! Get to the root of the problem so you can more effectively rectify it. The professionals will also be able to recommend a custom treatment or routine for you to adopt to get rid of the pain.
5. Consider EMS Training!
EMS stands for Electrical Muscle Stimulation and is a form of technology that’s used by many different sectors such as healthcare, aesthetics and physical training. It uses electrical impulses to get your muscles to contract, adding additional resistance to your workouts. EMS targets major muscle groups and can strengthen them in a much shorter time as compared to conventional training. The load on your joints are also reduced as resistance is provided by the electrical impulses and not through heavy weights.
You can read more about EMS here and our Active Suit, the first fully wireless EMS device in the market that can target all major muscle groups in your body.
Lower back pains can plague you throughout your entire life. Do not let it compromise your quality of life and take action immediately. Your future self will definitely thank you for it!