Do you suffer from lower back pain? One of the best steps you can take towards relief is seeing a chiropractor for treatment on a regular basis. But in order to experience ongoing relief from lower back pain, it is also important to take a look at the lifestyle habits that may be contributing to that pain or making it worse. Here are three common lifestyle habits that perpetuate lower back pain and some simple suggestions for changing them.
Sleeping on a Mattress That's Too Soft
It might feel comfortable when you first lay down, but spending all night on a mattress that's too soft is not good for your lower back. Such a mattress offers very little support for your spine, so as you lie there, portions of your spine "sag" and make the spinal misalignments that contribute to lower back pain worse. If your mattress is old and has lost its firmness, or if it has been soft from the beginning, one of the best investments you can make is in a firmer mattress. Look for one that's at least labeled "medium-firm" if not "firm." Such mattresses are often marketed to people with lower back pain, so you may see claims like "reduces back pain" on the packaging.
Failing to Maintain a Healthy Weight
The heavier you are, the more weight your lower back has to support – especially if you carry your excess weight on your upper body. Take a look at a height-weight chart or use a reliable online calculator to figure out what your ideal weight is. Then, start taking steps to getting there. Work with a trainer if you're not comfortable in the gym. Starting off by just taking a 20 – 30 minute walk every day is a great first step. Clean up your diet, eliminating processed, high-calorie foods and instead reaching mainly for fresh fruits and veggies, lean meats, and whole grains. As the pounds melt away, so will your back pain.
Sitting With a Slouch
Letting yourself slouch over as you sit places excessive pressure on the lower back. It can be hard to improve your posture, but these tips can help you remember to sit up straight with your shoulders back:
- Set a reminder on your phone to go off every 30 minutes. When you hear it, mentally check to make sure you're sitting with proper posture.
- Invest in an office chair that is made to help you maintain good posture. These chairs offer lower-back support, which makes it feel more natural to sit up with your shoulders back.
- Tell a coworker or two about your efforts to maintain better posture. You can remind each other not to slouch.
For more advice on eliminating lower back pain, speak with your chiropractor. Based on your unique lifestyle, he or she can recommend some more specialized ways to reduce your pain.