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Bad Habits That Can Lead to Neck and Back Pain Later in Life

Using a smartphone

Medical experts estimate that more than 80 percent of the population will experience back pain at some point in their lives. It is the fifth most common reason people visit the doctor.

With that said, it’s time to think about how to prevent neck and back pain. It’s possible that some of your daily habits may lead to back or neck pain in the future. These habits might not seem related to your back, but they can cause neck and back pain later in life if you aren’t careful.

Keep reading below to learn more.

Looking at Your Phone

We all check our phones. It’s part of the culture today with a recent study finding that Americans check their phones on average 80 times a day! Whether you are surfing the web, checking emails, or texting, you spend quite a bit of time looking down at your phone.

If you check your phone regularly, make sure you hold your device higher so you are looking straight and not down. Looking down for more than 10 minutes strains your neck. It’s important to keep your phone and other personal devices like laptops, at eye level.

Not Exercising

You can get poor posture if you don’t exercise, especially if you don’t do any abdominal strengthening. Keeping your body moving helps back pain, and if you are in better shape, it can improve back conditions.

Be sure to get a variety in your workout. You need cardiovascular exercise along with abdominal strength training with programs like Pilates. Even walking has been shown to improve spine health.

Sitting for Long Periods of Time

Man sitting with poor posture in front of a computer

Sitting is starting to become known as ‘the new smoking’ because of its health risks. This is why it’s important to get up and move around throughout the day. Try standing at your desk or taking a lap around the office every hour.

Your joints need to move to stay loose. If you sit for long periods, they will age quickly giving you more pain. Talk to your employer about making your desk a better fit, and make sure you move throughout the day.

Crossing Your Legs

This goes along with sitting a long time. If you cross your legs or wedge a foot under your bottom, you tilt your pelvis which over-stretches one side of your spine. The other side then gets over-compressed.

You might even start feeling pain under one of your shoulder blades when this over-stretching occurs.  If you catch yourself crossing your legs, make an effort to keep both feet on the floor.

Lifting Wrong

It’s easy to get a back injury if you life heavy objects incorrectly. Be sure you take advantage of your leg power and bend your knees when you lift something heavy. Your back should also be straight and your head should be down to lift properly.

Carrying Large Bags

Carrying bags can hurt your spine

If you carry a large purse or even backpack, remember everything you put in that bag goes on your shoulder and neck. Distribute the weight evenly by using both straps on your backpack. If you carry a purse, be sure to clean it out regularly to get rid of extra weight you don’t need.

Not Dealing with Stress

If you experience any form of regular anxiety or stress, you will most likely develop neck and back pain. Stress creates tension headaches that cause head and neck pain. Be sure you find ways to cope with your anxiety by talking to your doctor or a therapist so your body doesn’t hold the tension in your back, shoulders, and neck.

Wearing Your Bra Incorrectly

Wearing your bra wrong can cause bad posture by making your back arch. Some women tend to wear their bras too tight and high, and this is bad for your back. Make sure your bra fits properly to give you relief.

Commuting in Your Car

Man driving

Your posture in your car can cause serious back problems especially if you hunch over the steering wheel. When you drive, your shoulders get rounded and your chest muscles start to tighten.

You need to think about your posture in the car and readjust during long rides. Try to sit at a 90-degree angle and get as close to the steering wheel as you comfortably can.

Improper Nutrition

You need to make sure you get enough vitamin D and calcium in your diet. These nutrients are vital for your bone health.

A large percentage of the U.S. population is vitamin D deficient, causing all kinds of health problems. Talk to your doctor about supplements to make sure you get enough of these nutrients.

Poor Posture

There’s a reason your mom always said to stand up straight. Poor posture puts stress on your spine and can cause you to injure your back easily. Try standing with your knees bent slightly and place one foot forward to lessen back strain.

You should also sit with your hips slightly higher than your knees.


Cigarette butts in an ash tray

We all know smoking is bad, but you may not realize that it can also cause back pain. Nicotine limits blood flow to your disks that protect your vertebrae. This causes an increased rate of degeneration causing loss to your back’s cushion, which results in pain.

In addition, the coughing causes back pain. Cigarettes reduce your calcium absorption, which limits new bone growth. This is why smokers have an increased risk of osteoporosis.

Regularly Sleeping on Your Stomach

Yes, sleeping on your stomach is comfortable, but think about how your head has to twist to the side. That is not good for your neck.

When the head is to the side, the muscles relax. The ligaments are out of balance, so your neck is getting strained on the one side. It’s better to sleep on your back or side for long periods of time.

Looking for Neck and Back Pain Relief?

Don’t let neck and back pain ruin your life.

Contact Comprehensive Spine Institute to get the help and information you need to start feeling better. We offer a variety of treatments, so we will find what works best for you and develop a personalized treatment plan to relieve the pain.

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