8 Sneaky Reasons Your Back Hurts

Did you know that about 80% of people will suffer from back pain? Sometimes, it’s obvious when you injure your back – whether you’re involved in an accident or simply feel something go wrong when lifting heavy objects. Back pain can sneak up on you through seemingly harmless motions. We’re diving into 8 sneaky reasons your back is hurting:

More Money, More Problems

Especially prevalent with men, storing a wallet in your back pocket is second nature. However, when seated, it causes your hips to be slightly angled and can throw your back’s position off—leading to pain.

Working (Too) Hard

Think of where your phone, printer, stapler, etc. sit on your desk at work. Is there something you grab for often that is ever so slightly out of reach? The repetitious leaning movement can misalign your back and move muscles improperly. Make sure your desk essentials are conveniently placed.

Country Roads

Often long drives are met with an inevitable groan. You spend most of the drive twisting and turning trying to get comfortable. The answer is in your seat position! Make sure your driver’s seat is angled so that it keeps your back upright and your hips at a 90-degree angle. Also, make sure to get out of your car every two or so hours to stretch and get your blood flowing.

Keeping You On Your Toes

While you may stretch your back in the morning or your hamstrings before a run, how often do you think about the flexibility in your big toe? Understandably, not very often. Experiencing decreased flexibility in your big toe and/or ankles can throw off your normal walking pattern. If your feet and ankles are stiff, then there may be too much movement or unbalanced movement in the lumbar spine.

Hips Don’t Lie

We know about Leg Day and Back Day at the gym, but what about Hip Day? A weakness of your hips can lead to straining low back muscles to compensate. Strengthen those hips by throwing a few sets of clam shells or leg lifts into your next leg day regimen.

Sleeping Soundly

While you’re tossing and turning at night, certain positions put the hips and/or low back in a bad position for hours at a time. The best positions for sleeping are on your back or side, making sure your pillows are properly set up to keep your neck neutral all night.

Fresh Kicks

Shoes with proper arch support, rigidity, and the proper size help keep a normal walking pattern that can take the pressure off of your low back. Next time you’re shopping, make sure to check out this post by The Fitness Tribe ranking some of the best shoes for avoiding back pain or go to your local running store to get properly sized!

Labor Pains

Mothers who deliver by C-section see increased side effects post-birth, as they are also recovering from major surgery. C-sections are performed by cutting through muscle groups that important in spinal stabilization. If that muscle is never retrained, the spine is often unstable which can move vertebrae and muscles out of place.

Back pain can be debilitating and make you feel that you’re on the sidelines of your own life. Hopefully, these tips and tricks help get you back on your feet. If you’d like more insight or help with your back pain, give one of our skilled physical therapists a call and get scheduled today!

Wallet in back pocket can lead to misalignment your back!

Ergonomics 101

Everyday Ergonomics

You might be asking yourself what exactly IS ergonomics? Luckily, the word is much less intimidating than it looks. Ergonomics is the science of safely and efficiently doing activities at work or at home. Although Occupational Therapists most often deal with work environments, the tasks and activities that you perform outside of the office are just as important. For instance, do you have problems doing gardening or yard work? What about shoulder, back, or neck pain after working on the computer or your iPad? Do you feel exhausted after trying to cook a meal? Our Occupational Therapists are trained in making ergonomic assessments and adjustments to reduce pain, maximize effectiveness, and help you get back to your daily activities.

Tackling Your Tasks  

Occupational Therapists combine their ergonomic-specific training with a foundation of the body’s anatomy and a passion for improving your performance. For example, many people lean too far forward while working on the computer or a craft, like sewing. Maintaining a straight, upright sitting posture is important for comfort, stamina, and your long-term health. We might suggest equipment like an ergonomic keyboard or a magnifying lamp to help make these tasks easier. Developing the small muscles in your hand, also known as intrinsic muscle strength, will help with your skills and comfort while performing small and detailed tasks.

From the Cubicle to the Kitchen

Our OTs will evaluate your individual case including complaints of pain or injury, difficulty performing certain tasks, and how you function in your environment. The evaluation will include every area that can affect task performance. For instance, many problems with hand pain and weakness can be traced to the shoulder or neck. Like a building with an unstable foundation, poor shoulder function can lead to problems further down the arm. The therapist will ask you to perform the activity that troubles you. If you can bring in tools you use frequently or any kind of examples, it will make our suggestions even better!

Examples of areas we can help with include:

  •         Gardening
  •         Woodshops
  •         Arts and crafts spaces
  •         Home
  •         Kitchen
  •         Garage
  •         Office space
  •         Assembly lines
  •         Retail counters

Basically, our Occupational Therapists can help with any task that you are having trouble completing. We can analyze and develop a custom treatment plan, including ergonomic suggestions that you can start using right away! Also, we will send you home with exercises tailored to your specific situation and needs. These home exercise programs, or HEPs, are key to your progress.

Our Occupational Therapists are skilled in recommending a variety of adjustments to how you work and play to reduce pain, maximize efficiency, and give you more time and energy to do what is important. If you’re interested in learning more or are ready to start your treatments, give us a call today to get set up with one of our skilled Occupational Therapists!