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Habits That Are Hurting Your Back

Updated: Sep 7, 2020

Habits that are Hurting your Back

1. Sitting For Too Long

Sitting puts 40% more pressure on your spine than standing. When you’re sitting down, your posture changes…especially because most people who sit for long periods of time are either sitting behind a desk at work or on a couch at home. When you sit at a desk, in front of a computer, your shoulders round forward and your head juts forward. That forward head translation and hunched shoulders puts pressure on the muscles in your upper back and neck causing tightness, stiffness and trigger points to form. Make sure to get up and move or stretch every half hour or so.

2. Skipping Exercise

On average, 40% of people halt exercise when they have back pain. Believe it or not, skipping exercise when you have back pain can prolong your pain. I’m not saying to go into the gym and lift heavy free weights or jump on a treadmill and run 5 miles, but activities like walking, stretching and yoga help to speed up healing.

3. Eating an Unhealthy Diet

Eating an unhealthy diet adds excess pounds, especially around your midsection. That excess weight changes your center of gravity, thus changing your posture. That posture change causes your back muscles to compensate in different ways to support your spine which causes pain. An unhealthy diet can also cause high cholesterol which can clog your arteries over time. Clogged arteries are a major culprit of back pain.

4. Having Your Car Seat In A Bad Position

When you get into your car, do you feel like you have to stretch to reach the steering wheel or pedals? If so, your seat is probably positioned too far back. Your seat should be close enough to the steering wheel and pedals that you don’t have to reach for them. Reaching alters your posture which can cause back pain. Also, make sure that your car seat back is angled at 90 degrees so that you are sitting upright and the head rest is flush with the back of your head for added support.

5. Overloading a Purse or Briefcase

Carrying heavy bags, such as a purse or a briefcase, causes an imbalance in your shoulders which negatively affects your posture. The maximum recommended weight of a purse or briefcase should be about 10% of your body weight. Always be sure to switch the side your carry your bag on to help even out the musculature in your back and shoulders.

6. Sleeping on an old mattress.

Sleeping on an old, worn out mattress causes your spine to sag. When you spend up to 1/3 of the day sleeping, the integrity of your mattress makes a huge difference in the health of your spine. A sagging mattress can cause the ligaments and small muscles that support your spine to slowly stretch over time creating misalignments in the spine. The changes in supporting musculature can cause other larger muscles to overcompensate causing trigger points, muscles spasms and increased muscle tone. It is recommended to replace your mattress every 5-7 years, especially if you suffer from back pain.

7. Wearing high heels.

Wearing high heels significantly alters your posture. Positioning your heels unnaturally above your toes tilts your pelvis forward and hyperextends your lumbar spine. The altered posture puts pressure on the lumbar spine and low back muscles causing pain.

8. Letting stress build up.

Stress and anger take a physical toll on your body by causing muscle tension in the low back. Also, when you get stressed, your body releases a hormone from the adrenal glands called “cortisol” which helps to regulate blood sugar. When too much cortisol is released, the adrenal glands become fatigued. One of the symptoms of adrenal fatigue is low back pain! Always take time to de-stress when you feel it starting to build up. Your back will thank you!

9. Watching too much TV.

Statistics show that watching 15 or more hours of TV per week results in a 3% increase in low back pain; especially when you sit on an oversized sofa or a broken-in Lazy Boy. Sitting in furniture that is not supportive is similar to sleeping on an old, worn out mattress. The same slow stretching of the supporting ligaments of the spine can occur, causing low back pain. Love TV? Here’s how you can help combat the problem…get up and walk around or stretch during those dreaded commercials.

10. Ignoring back pain.

If you have low back pain, DON’T ignore it! In most cases, the pain will continue to get progressively worse and can start to interfere with your work, social life and other daily activities. There are so many different causes of low back pain that it is important to get evaluated and properly treated to prevent further injury. Chiropractors are experts in treating back and neck pain.

If you or someone you know in North Houston is looking for a chiropractor, please call Dr. Shea Stark with Stark Chiropractic and Sports at 281-836-5908 to schedule an appointment, or use our simple online scheduling tool at

Dr. Stark is a board certified chiropractor and the author of this blog post.To learn more about Dr. Stark and the many benefits of chiropractic care, please visit our website, and check us out on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Yelp!

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