Lower back pain can be uncomfortable and difficult to manage, and some common coping strategies and issues could actually be making your lower back pain worse.
Here are some things that could potentially be making your lower back pain more difficult to manage.
1. You sit for long periods of time.
Sitting for a long time is a daily necessity for many people, but if you’re sitting for too long, you might be unintentionally exacerbating your back pain.
“Too many people spend too many hours sitting in front of a computer whether its work or personal,” Dr. Krishn M. Sharma, MD, an orthopedic spine surgeon at Brain and Spine Surgeons of New York, told INSIDER. “Sitting puts increased pressure on the discs in our back and can generate stiffness. Take the time to get up and walk around, stretch out your back, march in place. Do this every 60 minutes.”
Walking around your office, scheduling a walking meeting, or working at a stand-up desk are also good options.
2. You lift things (and people) incorrectly.
If you’re lifting things incorrectly, even things that don’t seem heavy enough to potentially cause pain, you can put yourself at risk for injury. This rule even applies when holding babies.
“I have an older clientele and when I hear that they’re going to be a grandparent, we work months before the baby is born on lifting properly, how to use their legs, how to get their abdominals involved, so they’re not hanging over and in excruciating back pain,” Conni Ponturo, a Pilates instructor who specializes in chronic pain and the author of “Falling Into Joy: Eight Simple Steps To Allow Your Body To Become Your Best Friend,” told INSIDER.
Overall, Ponturo said it’s important to educate yourself on the proper way to use your body when lifting.
3. You’re underestimating how much professionals might be able to help.
When you first experience lower back pain, you might just try to rest and wait it out. But, that might not actually help you get the relief that you need.
“It’s important that patients are given an active treatment approach like that employed by physical therapy early in the care process,” Dr. Erin Hassett, PT, DPT, a physical therapist with Athletico Physical Therapy, told INSIDER.
Plus, acting sooner rather than later can save you money in the long-run.
“Research has shown that patients who receive physical therapy in the first 14 days of a low back pain episode experience decreased physician visits, decreased use of advanced imaging, decreased surgical intervention, injections and decreased overall health care costs.”
4. Your bed isn’t supportive enough.
Ponturo said that another thing that might be making your lower back pain worse is your bed. If it’s not very supportive, it might be exacerbating the effects of everything else.
It’s especially important to have a supportive bed because you likely spend hours there each night.
5. Your posture leaves something to be desired.
“Similar to sitting too much, poor posture puts excess stress on the lower back,” Sharma told INSIDER. “Remember to stand up tall. That reverse-C shaped curvature in the lower back is normal.”
Whether you’re sitting or standing, you want to make sure that your posture is generally good to help alleviate back pain and keep yourself looking and feeling your best. Sharma said that if you need added support while sitting, a lumbar cushion can be a good choice.
6. You’re not moving much over the course of the day.
Movement is key if you want to ease and prevent back pain, even if it seems like it could potentially just make things worse.
Ponturo said that exercises don’t have to be extreme. Doing exercises for 15 to 20 minutes can be a great place to start and consistently taking the stairs and parking further away from the entrance to places can add a little bit more movement into your day.