The Ultimate Guide To Back Braces
Causes of Back Pain
Back pain has many different causes. Some of the causes are simple while others are more serious and require immediate attention. It is important to know what causes your back pain so that you can find the right treatment or remedy. Below is a list of some of the most common causes of back pain among many people.
You spend a lot of time looking at screens
If your job requires you to sit in front of your computer for nine hours straight or if you are always texting or browsing on your phone, you will surely suffer from back pain because your back and neck are always bent forward. This slouched position is one of the most common causes of back pain. When you are looking down on the keyboard or the screen of your computer or mobile phone, you are putting strain on your neck because this is not the normal neck position. This is okay if you only do this a couple of times a day. It only becomes a problem when you are always doing this several hours a day that it becomes a part of your lifestyle.
You spend a lot of time sitting on a chair
Aside from constantly looking at screens, constantly sitting on a chair also causes back pain, no matter how comfortable or ergonomic your chair is. This is due to the fact that sitting on a chair all the time wears out the discs that cushion your spine because of reduced blood flow which puts a lot of stress on your back. In fact, according to experts, sitting puts more stress on your spine than standing or walking. You sit in a chair for long periods of time when you are at the office or when you are driving.
You are wearing the wrong shoes
Certain kinds of shoes are known to cause harm not only to your feet but also to your spine. One common example is the stiletto. Stilettos may look sexy, which is why women love to wear them and men love to see women wear them, but it does a lot of harm to your spine. Because of the extremely thin high heels, you are forced to walk with your toe touching the ground first instead of the normal and highly advisable heel-toe motion when you are wearing stilettos. This puts a lot of stress on your back and other parts of your body such as knees and hips. The weight is also not evenly distributed over your spine, which changes the angle of your body that can cause back pains.
But if you think high heeled shoes are the only culprit, you are wrong because even flat sandals and flip flops can cause back pains if they are backless. Wearing backless flats makes you walk in an awkward way by sliding your heels around. This also distributes your weight unevenly which puts a lot of stress to your spine. Both of these styles of footwear cause instability which can result to injury to your spine.
You are wearing the wrong bra
If you are a woman and you are large-breasted, you need to find the right bra that will provide you the right kind of support. You carry more weight in front because of your breasts which can lead to back pains if you are not wearing the right kind of bra. It is important to know which bra size fits you perfectly to ensure full support especially if you are active.
You are overweight
If you gained weight because of binge eating or pregnancy, you may suffer from back aches because of the excess fats around your belly. It forces your body, specifically your pelvis, to tilt forward so that your body can carry the extra weight. This causes your spine to become misaligned and can put a lot of pressure on your back, especially the lower part.
You have a crazy schedule
Having a crazy schedule makes you feel stressed out. And when you are stressed, your muscles, including the muscles in the back, will become more tensed. Your muscles are bunched up so much that can lead to spasm. Moreover, stress increases the production of cortisol in your body, a hormone which is responsible for feeling achy all over. If you are also stressed out, you will have a hard time managing the pain that you feel. Your back pain will be so much worse if you are stressed out.
You sleep on your stomach
There are some people whose favorite sleeping position is sleeping on their stomach. They may find this comfortable but this only does a lot of harm to their spine. This is because this position puts a lot of pressure on the muscles, ligaments, and disks. It also keeps your spine from being in its natural elongated and neutral position, unlike if you sleep on your back or side.
Your feelings are a mess
Research has shown that people who are depressed are more likely to suffer from back pain, specifically neck and lower back pain. People who cannot cope well with their problems in life and get easily depressed produce more cortisol or the stress-inducing hormone. And as you already know, stress cause back pain and other aches and illnesses in your body.
You always lift heavy objects
If your job requires you to lift heavy objects, there is a higher chance that you will suffer from back pain. People who work for industries that require heavy lifting such as construction or moving industries may experience back pain because they put a lot of pressure on their back muscles which causes pains. Even if you do not carry heavy objects on a regular basis, you may still suffer from back pain if you are not used to heavy lifting and you suddenly lifted something really heavy, like a large wardrobe or fridge.
You are getting old
Your back pain may also be caused by aging. Some parts of your body like your muscles and ligaments may suffer from constant wear and tear due to constant use. This is why it is important to properly take care of your body and not abuse it when you are still young so that you will not experience any pains or illnesses as you get older. Some old people especially women may also suffer from osteoporosis which cause small fractures to the spine that can lead to backaches.
You have a special medical condition
Some medical conditions such as scoliosis, kypnosis, or spinal tenosis make your spine curve in an unnatural position which can lead to back pain. People who have fibromyalgia also suffer from the pain.
You are using an old mattress
You need to understand that mattresses have a lifespan. Old mattresses may cause back pains because of the springs that poke through the covers or the uneven softness of the foam.
These are some of the major causes of back pain. You need to know how to get rid of these causes so that you can also get rid of your back pain and the discomfort that it brings. The following chapters will provide you with some effective tips on how to avoid and stop back pain.
Changing Bad Habits
Some of the causes mentioned in the first chapters are ordinary habits that you probably do not really think about. These habits cause back pains that make it difficult for you to move and perform everyday tasks. You need to address these bad habits if you want to be finally free from your back pains. Here are some important tips about changing your bad habits that cause aches and pains on your back.
If you are always slouching or bending your back and neck, you are straining your back muscles which lead to back pains. What you can do is to always observe good posture no matter what you are doing. If you are typing on your computer keyboard or reading a text message, you should always keep your back, neck, and head straight. It may seem difficult at first but you will get used to it as time goes by. If you are sitting on a chair for a long period of time, you should consider sitting at 135 degree angle with your back leaning backwards from time to time to reduce the pressure on your spine discs. You should also take a break every few minutes by getting up from your chair to go to the bathroom, get water, or do anything that will make you stand up and walk a short distance.
Avoid lifting heavy objects
If you can help it and it is not your job, you should avoid lifting heavy objects that can cause back pains. Instead of lifting those heavy furniture pieces and appliances when you move, you should consider hiring a professional mover who can do all the heavy weight lifting for you.
You should also avoid carrying a large bag when you go to work or school. You should leave some of your things in your locker so that you do not have to carry them with you all the time. If you can leave that hardbound book that you have been reading at home or that extra pair of shoes, your bag will be so much lighter and easier to carry. If you are using a backpack, make sure that you carry it with the straps on each shoulder. It is also better for your spine. Keep in mind that the recommended weight of your bag when full should be less than 10% of your total body weight. This means that if you weigh 150 pounds, your bag and its contents should weigh no more than 15 pounds.
Sleep on your back or side
If you sleep on your back or side, you are not putting any strain on your spine that can cause back aches. Some people sleep on their stomach because they feel as if they are too exposed when they sleep on their back or side. What you can do is to put a pillow between your knees when you are sleeping on your side or to cover your body with a blanket if you are lying on your back. It is also best to put a small pillow under your knees if you are sleeping on your back. If the only position that allows you to get some good Zzzs is sleeping on your stomach, you can place a small pillow underneath your stomach to ease the tension on your back muscles and spine.
Replace Certain Things and Objects in Your Life
You may also be experiencing back pains because you are using the wrong object or you are wearing the wrong kind of fashion items. You need to start replacing these things in your life with things that are good for your back. Here are some items for your consideration.
Wear the right shoes
Stilettos may look sexy but you should consider replacing them with something more practical that does not cause any harm to your health particularly to your spine. If you want to wear shoes with heels, you can choose something that does not have extremely high heels such as kitten heels or something that will give you the right balance such as wedges. You should also wear sandals or flip flops that have straps on the back for you to be able to walk properly. You can still wear stilettos or flip flops if you really love them but wear them only for a short time and not on a daily basis.
Wear the right bra
This advice is applicable for women especially those who are well-endowed. You should find a bra that does not only look great and makes you look and feel sexy. You should find the right bra that provides the right kind of support. If you are buying a bra, you should try it on first to ensure that it fits you properly and it gives you the kind of support that you need. You still need to try it on even if it has your size because some manufacturers have varying sizes for the standard sizes 36B, 38D, and so on. You should find a bra that does not only look great and makes you look and feel sexy.
Get a new mattress
You should also buy yourself a new mattress especially if the one you are using is already 9 to 10 years old and if you think that it is the one causing you backaches. When picking a new mattress, pick something that is not too soft or too firm. This will ensure that the mattress will follow the natural contours of your back and will not force your spine to be too straight or too bent.
Get the right chair
If your work requires you to sit for a long time, you have to make sure that your office chair is not too straight-backed. The back of your office chair should follow the natural curve of your spine. You should also choose the right kind of dining chairs because you sit on these chairs every day. You have to choose something that has the right height and back to ensure that you are sitting properly while eating. Chairs that have hard seats and backs may not only cause back pains but also pains on your behind.
Find the Right Bag
You should also avoid carrying bags that are heavy even when they are empty such as those bags that have chains and other metal parts. The bag alone will weigh a few pounds if it has metal hardware. You should also buy bags that are not too big so that you have no choice but to carry only a few things inside.
Get the Right Kind of Exercise
Exercise does a lot of good for your health. One of the benefits of getting the right kind of exercise is back pain relief. You just need to know what kind of exercise you should do to finally be rid of these uncomfortable and painful aches on your back.
Be more physically active
Constantly lying on your back or sitting down may cause back pain more than doing physical activities such as walking or jogging. It is better for the spine if it is in a straight, neutral position like when you are standing up or walking. However, this does not mean that you have to force your body to do physical work. For instance, too much gardening may cause you more back pains because you are in a sitting position with your back bent forward while you are gardening. Walking is good but not if you do it for five hours or so.
Do some core exercises
Core exercises strengthen your abdominal muscles. If you have strong abdominal muscles, you are less likely to suffer from back pains because your abdominal muscles provide support for your body. If your abdominal muscles or abs are weak, your spine and back muscles have to work extra harder to support your body, which often leads to back pain. Crunches are okay but do not do crunches excessively or they may do more harm than good to your body. You should do broader core exercises that also make your transverse abdominus stronger. If you are going to do crunches, you should do them slowly with your body at the right form.
Improve your flexibility
To release the stress and tension on your back muscles, you need to improve your flexibility by doing some stretching. You can stretch your hamstring while sitting on a chair or edge of your bed by extending one leg forward and keeping your other leg on the floor. Lean your body forward while keeping your back in a neutral position. The most important thing to remember when stretching is to ensure that you do not force yourself too much. Just do it gently. If it hurts, you should stop it immediately.
Yoga has a lot of health benefits and one of them is relieving backaches and other pains in your body. You can enroll in a yoga class in your local gym or you can buy an instructional DVD if you prefer to do it at home. Be sure to try those yoga exercises that focus on strengthening your back muscles. Yoga is not only beneficial to your body but also to your mind because it also involves meditation techniques that other physical exercises do not have.
Do not wear braces all the time
Some people baby their back muscles too much by wearing braces for support. Wearing braces is only advisable if you are dong strenuous physical activities like lifting heavy weights. And if you are wearing braces, you should only wear them for 15 minutes and not the whole time because this will weaken your back and core muscles that can cause more damage to your spine and lead to back pains.
Try Simple Home Remedies and Relaxation Techniques
There are also a number of home remedies and relaxation techniques that you can try to ease your back pain. These are very simple and you can find most of the remedies listed in this chapter at home. Check out the following paragraphs to know more about these home remedies and relaxation techniques that can provide back pain relief.
Get a massage
When your back muscles are sore and tensed, you need to loosen them up by getting a massage. You can go to a spa that offers massage or you can hire a personal masseuse to do a home massage service. If you do not have enough money to go to a spa or hire a personal masseuse, you can always ask your partner for a massage that is absolutely free. Your significant other can use ointment or body oil to increase the relief that you will experience during and after the massage. This is not only good for your back but it also keeps the romance alive in your relationship because massage is a sensual and intimate act that every couple should practice once in a while.
Use ointments and rubs
If you are suffering from sore back muscles, you should consider applying ointments or rubs on the affected areas to relieve the pain. Some people do not like these ointments and rubs because of their strong smell and greasy texture. However, there are some products that are not smelly and greasy which you should try if you have a problem with strong smell and greasy texture. No matter what their smell or texture, these products soothe your tired and achy muscles and provide relief for your back. Some examples of pain rubs and ointments are Bio freeze, Deep Blue Rub, or Icy Hot.
Take a hot bath
Taking a hot bath is soothing to your sore muscles. Many people love to take a hot bath after a long and tiring day. Heat improves the elasticity of your muscles, which releases tension and strains that cause back pains. You can soak in a hot tub for 20 minutes. Add handfuls of Epsom salt to your hot bath and an aromatic bubble bath to relax your muscles and your senses. Epsom salt is not only good for your tired muscles but also for your skin because it acts as a natural body scrub. If you are pregnant, you should consider soaking in warm bath instead of a hot bath because exposure to high temperature may cause miscarriage and birth defects to the baby.
Apply ice or heat
If your back is injured, you should apply cold compress first on the affected area for the first 48 hours of the injury. This numbs the area which keeps you from feeling too much pain. This also stops the swelling, if there is any. After this, you can start with the hot compress to relieve the soreness. The two serves two different purposes so it would be best to do both of them.
Practice relaxation techniques
Stress is one of the leading causes of aches and pains in your body. You should practice different relaxation techniques such as meditation, breathing exercises, and yoga. You can also listen to soothing music while taking a hot bath and sleep with the lights turned off so that you can relax completely.
Take a break
You should also take a break from your work to relax yourself and keep your body healthy. If you have been working for long hours, you should take a break every few minutes to refresh your mind and body. You should also consider taking a long vacation from work. Learn to say no to people to avoid having a crazy work schedule that can cause too much strain not only on your back muscles but other parts of your body as well.
Take Medications and Seek Professional Help
If home remedies and common treatments do not resolve your back pain problem, you should consider trying medications and seeking professional advice. Here are some important things that you need to know.
Take over-the-counter medicines
If you are experiencing pain on your back and other parts of your body, you can consider taking over-the-counter medicines that do not require a doctor’s prescription such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen. You can easily buy these from drug stores and pharmacies. If you are pregnant or nursing or if you have special medical condition, you should seek the advice of your doctor first before you take any medication even if it is over-the-counter. You should also ask your doctor’s advice first before you start taking these medications on a regular basis to treat chronic back pain because long term use of these medications may have side effects that are bad for your health.
Go to a professional
If the pain is too much to bear or if the symptoms worsen, you should consider going to a professional such as a chiropractor or a physical therapist who can help you get rid of your chronic back pain. This is especially important if your back pain has an underlying cause such as scoliosis or fibromyalgia. General medical practitioners can also help you treat back pains if there are no underlying causes.
You can also go to a psychiatrist if depression, anxiety, and stress are the main causes of your back pain. Therapy may be too expensive for some people. If you cannot afford it, you can always go to a volunteer group that offers free support for people with special health and mental conditions.
Some doctors may suggest physical therapy and treatment while others may prescribe medications such as muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatory medicines, opioids, corticosteroids, and adjuvant medications depending on the severity of your back pain.