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10 Everyday Habits That Are Hurting Your Spine

The spine is a very important part of your body because it helps you stand upright, bears your weight, supports your back, enable flexible motion and protects the spinal cord. Sometimes, doing certain everyday tasks can harm your spine and you may not even know about it.

What Causes Pain Back Pain?

A back pain is usually felt when your spine is hurt or there are injuries to the muscles and ligaments supporting your spine. A slipped disc can also cause back pain as there is pressure on the disc which causes it to bulge or rupture. This pushes the cartilage sideways and the cartilage presses on the spinal cord nerves, causing intense pain.

everyday habits hurt spine

Other conditions like osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, fibromyalgia can also cause back pain. If you do not suffer from the above-mentioned conditions, then the cause of your back pain would be very basic - something you do every day.

Everyday Habits That Are Hurting Your Spine

1. Weight-bearing exercises

Weight-bearing exercises aid in increasing bone density of the spine and strengthen the muscles surrounding the back and spine. But, if you do too many weight-bearing exercises, it may worsen your back.

The International Osteoporosis Foundation suggests that one should aim for 30 to 40 minutes of carrying heavyweights three to four times each week.

2. Poor posture

Poor posture can damage your spine by causing misalignment of your spine, which can increase the stress on your knees. To improve your posture, stand or sit in an upright position with your chest lifted and keep your shoulder down. You can also do spine lengthening stretches to improve the condition of your spine.

3. The way you hold cell phones

A new study published in Surgical Technology International finds that using mobile phone can add up to 50 pounds of pressure on a person's spine, depending on the angle at which the person is holding the phone.

When you are staring at your phone screen and leaning down, the forward-head posture causes the upper spine into an over-flexed position which in turn compresses the spinal discs over time.

4. Smoking

Smoking is an everyday habit that can also damage your spine. It causes back pain because nicotine disrupts the normal blood flow around the spinal cord, thereby affecting the bone and causing premature disc degeneration. Smoking further inhibits the discs' ability to absorb the nutrients which are required to keep the spine healthy.

5. Disruption of the circadian rhythms

Circadian rhythm is a 24-hour internal clock that runs in the background of your brain and cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals. It basically tells you when to sleep and when to be awake.

Scientists believe that when your circadian rhythms are disrupted due to ageing, insomnia and night shifts, and the cells in intervertebral disks start functioning badly which causes chronic inflammation, and makes it more susceptible to the development of pain in the lower back.

6. Wearing the wrong shoes

Wearing the wrong shoes, especially high heels can cause the spine's curvature to go out of alignment. Reduce the strain on your legs by choosing to wear sneakers, boots or flat shoes.

7. Intake of less calcium

Calcium is an essential mineral for bone health, and dairy products which are rich in calcium should be a part of your daily diet. If you consume too little calcium, the body is forced to take calcium stored in the bone and it can result in a weakened spine.

8. Sitting at your desk without short breaks

A desk job is another way in which you might get a back pain. Sitting in your chair for prolonged periods without taking short breaks strains your lower back. Instead, go for short walks or place a cushion on your chair for back support.

9. Medicines

Certain medications may weaken your bones, mainly steroids. The more steroids you consume, the bigger the impact on your bones and spine. The major effects of steroid medications are on the metabolism of calcium, vitamin D and bones which can lead to bone loss, broken bones and osteoporosis.

10. Sleeping in the wrong position

If your sleeping position is wrong it will hurt your spine. For instance, sleeping on your stomach is bad for your spine health. This puts pressure on your spine arch and neck which leads to joint pain, back pain and neck pain as well.

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Story first published: Wednesday, August 29, 2018, 16:41 [IST]
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