With the exception of those who have a chronic back pain condition, most give little consideration to how some of their most common and frequently used purchases affect the back. While it may be the very hub of communication between the brain and the body, as well as the body’s support system, the spine and all its components are still quite susceptible to injury. After all, any mechanism that is used so frequently will be subject to some wear and tear, especially when not cared for properly.
Unfortunately, many do not realize when they are putting undue stress on their back or exacerbating an injury. Yet, there are choices we make and products we use every single day that can lead to back trouble or bring a lingering problem to the forefront. Here are just three everyday items that can have major consequences for the back:
Your Mattress and Back Pain
Perhaps the most important item on this list, it is no secret that the bed you sleep on will have some degree of impact on your back. Sleeping position, firmness, and type and number of pillows all come into play here to determine not only how well you sleep at night but also how you will feel the following day. In the end, the ideal mattress will be firm enough to provide adequate back support for the natural curvature of the spine but soft enough to avoid putting too much pressure on the joints.
Another important factor that should be considered is the age of the mattress. Over time, it can begin to sag and lose its shape, rendering it unable to provide optimal support. It is typically recommended that a mattress be replaced every 8 years, but sufferers of chronic back pain should consider replacing theirs every 5-7 years.
Purses, Backpacks and Back Pain
Ladies, the purse that you carry and rely on for so much every single day may well be the largest culprit in your discomfort. Increasingly overloaded bags put too much pressure on muscles, tendons, and ligaments, all while causing a shift in natural posture to accommodate the heavy burden. While the effects of such a weight, carried on one shoulder could be fairly minimal if only endured occasionally, using these purses every day can add up to long-term back, body, and head pain.
In addition to purses, backpacks can also contribute to back troubles. Children carry backpacks that are too heavy and too large for their size, setting them up for early back problems that can continue on throughout life. In order to help them avoid such issues, opt for rolling versions when possible. Otherwise, ensure that the bag comes with padded straps, is no more than 5-10% of the child’s total body weight, and sits no lower than 4 inches below the waistline.
Office Chairs and Back Pain
You’ve probably heard before that our increasingly sedentary lifestyles are adding up to lots of unhealthy consequences. Sitting for prolonged periods throughout the day can increase our risk of high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, heart disease, and even some forms of cancer. Of course, it can also play a major role in back pain. Sitting, especially in a hunched position, puts increased pressure on the spine, leading to increased rates of back pain and lumbar disc herniation particularly.
If you must sit for long periods of time, using an ergonomic chair that supports proper posture will help reduce the impact on your back. Your chair should be of proper height, offer lumbar support, and be easily maneuverable to reach whatever you may need without straining. When working at a computer, sit up straight with feet flat on the floor and elbows bent at a 90 degree angle.
Before you purchase your next office chair, purse, or mattress, consider the long-term effects these items may have on your back and overall comfort. Use careful consideration to ensure that you’re choosing the best option for you and that you take whatever additional precautions that may be necessary when using these items in order to protect your spine.
Another component to a healthy back is regular chiropractic adjustments. Whether you already suffer from back pain or are taking a proactive approach, chiropractic care can work for you. Request an appointment at any one of the SouthEast Chiropractic: The Motion Centers facilities by clicking below.