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Lifestyle Changes That Help Lower the Risk of Developing Back Pain

Lifestyle Changes That Help Lower the Risk of Developing Back Pain

Back pain is extremely common and becomes more likely as we age. Sedentary lifestyles, obesity, poor nutrition, and stress can increase your risk of developing back pain. Many people have lived with it for years. You can help prevent back pain and protect your spine with some fairly easy lifestyle changes.

At Summit Primary Care, board-certified family physician Lawrence Scott Wilner, DO, and our team understand how back pain affects your quality of life. When you experience chronic pain, it can easily take over your thoughts and make it difficult to care for your family or participate in daily activities.

Here’s what you need to know about some lifestyle changes you can make to reduce back pain or to lower its risk of developing.

Different types of back pain

Back pain may be acute, lasting just a few days or a few weeks, or chronic, lasting more than three months. 

Acute back pain is typically caused by an accident or lifting something that’s too heavy. This type of back pain often resolves without any treatment. Chronic back pain is not as common as acute back pain and may require treatment or surgery.

Causes of back pain

While some back pain is caused by trauma, falls, or accidents, most back pain results from everyday activity like leaning down to pick something up, or turning wrong, or sitting at your desk for long periods of time. Poor posture can also cause issues. 

In some cases, back pain develops without a known cause.

Common conditions linked to back pain include:

You can prevent back pain caused by daily activities or conditions like ligament strain and muscle strain by protecting your back.

Keep your back muscles strong

Exercise is the main way to prevent back pain. That’s why it’s important to spend time doing back strengthening and stretching exercises two to three times per week. Our muscles are meant to move. If you aren’t in good shape, you’re much more likely to get hurt when you pick something up or carry heavy objects or items.

Exercise also helps manage your weight. Obesity is a leading cause of back pain, so keep yourself at a lower weight to help prevent problems with your back, knees, and joints.

Watch your posture

When you’re sitting at the computer day after day, you may find yourself slouching over time. Sit up straight and break up long periods of sitting with stretching exercises. Good posture helps maintain the natural curves of your back and keeps it strong and healthy.

Eat a healthy diet

Eating a diet low in sugar helps reduce inflammation in your body. Healthy fruits, vegetables, dairy, lean meats, and whole grains also help keep your digestive tract working properly. There’s a link between irritated bowels and back pain, so keeping your body functioning properly is a good way to prevent back pain.

Don’t sleep flat on your back

The best position for sleeping is on your side. If you prefer to sleep on your stomach, try placing a pillow under your lower abdomen to reduce stress on your back. If you must sleep on your back, place a pillow under your knees. Also, choose a supportive mattress and pillow for your body and neck.

Practice stress relief habits

Stress is a major contributor to back pain. When we feel stressed, we tense our muscles, which can cause back pain. Stress-relief activities like yoga, deep breathing, meditation, and tai chi can keep your stress levels in check and help prevent back pain.

Lifestyle changes can reduce your risk of developing back pain. However, if you do experience back pain, don’t ignore it. Schedule an appointment at one of our three Summit Primary Care Colorado locations in Colorado Springs, Denver, or Pueblo.

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