Back pain is one of the most common medical conditions, and it affects up to 80% of people every year. For most, regular treatments are ineffective. Recent research has shown that one of the main reasons that we can’t get rid of our back pain is because we don’t even realize what’s causing it. Here are a few secret causes of back pain that you might be doing every day and some non-medical techniques that can help you say goodbye to pain.
Back pain—it’s the worst.
And the worst thing about it (aside from the excruciating pain!) is that it’s hard to avoid triggers. Even simply sitting down puts enough pressure on the spine to cause minor aches and pains. We all know the most common causes—genetics, strenuous exercise, a low-quality mattress— but what about the secret causes that make our backs worse every day?
Here are a few things that cause back pain that you might not be aware of and some non-medical solutions to improve your quality of life.
Yes, even driving to the chiropractor or massage therapist to treat your back pain might be causing your back pain (nobody ever said life was fair).
The issue is that most car seats are “one-size-fits-all,” and our backs are made uniquely for us! Good back health demands good posture (your shoulder blades should sit flat on your back with your head back so your ears align with your shoulders), but most car seats don’t support this.
If you’re constantly behind the wheel, you might have to rethink your back pain therapy.
Solution: A cushion or some type of lower back support is the best solution for driving-induced back pain. Some people even stick a roll of paper towels down there! There are plenty of specially made cushions though. Check online or at a local chiropractor to see what they recommend. If you have a long commute, you absolutely have to have one.
Most of us are aware that stress and anxiety have physical as well as emotional effects on our bodies, but few of us are aware of the extent and severity of these effects.
The average person finds him or herself under stress at least somewhat every day, but when that heightened stress level causes chronic anxiety, the effects can spill over to our muscles. When we are stressed, our muscles tighten up. This causes many people’s muscles to become so tight that they suffer from a lack of mobility, chronic pain, and soreness.
Any group of muscles can be affected, but most commonly, pain manifests in the back muscles or neck.
Solution: While the causes of stress and anxiety may be deeply rooted in your psychological health, there are a few natural treatments that have proven effective. These include massage therapy, heating pads, meditation, mindfulness, and even a long vacation from work.
3: A Weak Core
Are you suffering from poor posture? Do your spinal movements feel unnatural?
That could be because you haven’t hit the gym in a while! Weak abdominal muscles encourage a forward-leaning posture and do not provide adequate stability for the spine. Your abdominal muscles work in unison with your back muscles when bending, lifting, or straightening.
The weaker your core, the more pressure on your spine and back muscles. The more pressure on your spine, the more back pain you feel.
Solution: Hit the gym!
4: Your Hips are Uneven
If your hips are uneven, you cause undue stress on your back and spine. When one side of your pelvis is higher than the other, it causes unnatural movements and an imbalance that results in pain.
Most people aren’t even aware that their hips are uneven until they see a doctor. The key is to feel the difference in your movements, especially when you work out. If you lunge with the left leg and feel a strange tightness that you don’t feel in the right leg, you could have uneven hips.
Solution: See a chiropractor and get their professional opinion. There could be an orthopedic solution that will reduce your pain.
5: You Aren’t Stretching Properly
Any time you engage in strenuous exercise, especially high-impact exercises like running or jumping intensely, you are putting an extreme amount of pressure on your knees, hips, and back.
Stretching reduces tension in the muscles, improves your range of mobility, and can even train your spine to position itself properly (we explain below). When you don't stretch, you increase your risk of injury and allow the pressure to build up in your spinal discs, causing chronic pain.
Regularly stretching in the morning and evening can help relieve pain, strengthen your joints, improve your flexibility, and provide psychological benefits such as mental clarity. In fact, more and more people are using a technique called inversion therapy to help make stretching easier and more effective.
Inversion therapy is a technique that involves suspending your body upside down on an inversion table and shifting your body’s gravity. A short, 1-2 minute session will stretch your spine and joints, helping to relieve that tension and train the ligaments to take a healthier position.
Solution: Use an inversion table in the morning and after a workout for maximum benefit. Strap yourself in and hang at a steep angle or totally inverted for roughly 1-2 minutes. The physical and psychological benefits will help you find relief by getting at the root cause of your pain rather than just relieving symptoms.
Relieving back pain requires a holistic approach to back health. If you are treating one cause but not another, then you will never relieve your pain. Make sure you know these secret causes of back pain and take steps to cure them. Inversion therapy has shown to have positive physical and mental effects ranging from improved spinal health to greater mental focus. Learn more about how inversion therapy can help relieve those chronic aches, improve your workouts, and help you live your best life.