Life Lessons

Life Lessons: Got back pain?

The most common cause of back pain is a pulled muscle or ligament, according to

You don’t have to be an athlete to strain your back, sometimes it happens from daily duties. There are ways to protect your back from little movements with big consequences.

Mopping, laundry, and doing the dishes are unavoidable parts of life for most of us, but all of these movements can strain the back muscles, if they are done incorrectly.

“So if you can’t bend in your hips or your knees and you have to bend over to pick something up, then you’re going to bend more in your back," said Linda Van Dillen, Pt, PhD from Washington University in Saint Louis.

If you’re using a mop, rake, or shovel, step one foot forward and bend at the knee, instead of bending at the waist. Cleveland Clinic says instead of bending over the sink to scrub dishes, place one foot underneath the sink and squat down. And when doing laundry or picking something up off the floor, balance yourself by lifting your leg up in the air to prevent repeated bending at the waist.

And do you smoke cigarettes or drink? Mount Sinai Hospital says that smokers experience more disc degeneration, and 15 percent of people who admitted to abusing alcohol reported low back pain.

“The idea is that people, they can associate their symptoms with exactly what they’re doing all the time that if you take that away the symptoms should get better,” Van Dillen stated.

According to the American Chiropractic Association, 31 million Americans experience low-back pain at any given time.

Another common source for back pain is your drive to work. Some tips for a pain-free commute home are to walk for five minutes before moving from desk to car at the end of the day to decompress your lower spine. One chiropractor from Berkley says instead of stepping into your car one foot at a time, sit down first and then swing your legs in, to avoid sideways pressure.

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