When you are looking for advice related to treating mild back pain, it is pretty easy to come across copious amounts of information on the web offering you advice on what to do to expedite your recovery. However, it is equally as important to focus on things you should not do when you are trying to completely heal an injured back. In this post, we are going to take a look at six things ranging from seemingly minor, subconscious habits to potentially risky activities that you should avoid doing when you are in the process of recovering from a back injury.
- Skipping The Gym: Depending on the severity of your back injury and where you are at in the recovery process, getting to the gym and breaking a sweat is probably going to be much better for your back than you thought. After getting your doctor’s approval and some advice on what level of physical activity your back can endure, commit to burning some calories, building and toning some muscle, and strengthening your back at least three times a week. By avoiding physical fitness and quality gym time, you are actually preventing yourself from a full recovery and the opportunity to develop a stronger back with healthier muscle. It may seem counter-intuitive, but research indicates that people would benefit from light exercise after a back injury. Naturally, you don’t want to start doing dead lifts on your first day back to the gym, but it is wise to start out with some brisk walking, stretching, and light cardio.
- Doing an Overload of Crunches: If you are dead set on achieving some flawless six-pack abs, you don’t need to depend solely on the classic crunches to get the job done. Swap out the traditional ab exercises for others that don’t stress the back as much. While it is wise to avoid doing lots of crunches in general, it is particularly important to give your body a rest when you are recovering from a back injury. By doing crunches with an injured back, even if it is an incredibly mild injury, you aren’t just halting the recovery process but most likely causing more harm to your back. Though it is important to have a strong core to protect the back, if you do too many crunches, the compression that occurs when crunching can cause the spine to curve. If you plan to do lots of ab exercises, specifically crunches, make sure to do them with the right form and mix up crunches with other six-pack forming exercises.
- Maintaining a Poor, Imbalanced Diet: Do you have a deep appreciation for salty, greasy junk food or are you notorious for your sweet tooth? While it is perfectly reasonable to allow yourself a sweet treat in moderation and on occasion, maintaining a strictly junk food diet will affect your health in more ways than one: including the health of your back. While it is necessary to maintain a nutrient-rich diet and healthy lifestyle all of the time, it is especially important to do when you are in the process of trying to heal your back. So just how does the wrong kind of food affect the health and strength of your back? When you have a poor diet, this can lead to clogged arteries and research has shown that people with clogged arteries are more likely to experience lower back pain and pain up and down their spine. Good circulation is vital for removing waste and when the waste is not properly removed, it leads to inflammation in the back. This can easily be avoided by maintaining a high protein and fiber diet complete with leafy greens, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, meats and seafood. It will also help to avoid excessive amounts of caffeine and sugar.
- Carrying Your Life on Your Back: One of the worst things a person could do to their back is wear heavy backpacks, cross body bags, and large purses stuffed to the gills with all of their belongings. People who wear heavy backpacks for long periods of time end up suffering from chronic back problems. So it just makes good sense to limit the amount of time you spend wearing a backpack and avoid wearing one altogether when recovering from a back injury. Back pain from wearing a heavy bag is because of the imbalance of the shoulders caused by the large bag or backpack. When there is an imbalance in your shoulders, it throws off the alignment of your spine and causes chronic pain and inflammation. As a general rule of thumb, only carry ten percent of your body weight on your back or shoulders and completely leave behind heavy items when you are still recovering from a back injury.
- Sleeping on The Wrong Mattress: When was the last time you replaced your mattress? If it has been over ten years, it’s time to get a new one, especially if you are experiencing chronic back pain. In fact, the National Sleep Foundation actually suggests that people replace their mattress every five to seven years if they want to have a higher quality sleep and significantly less back pain. When you are out mattress shopping, look for something that is neither too firm nor too soft. When you are sleeping on a hard mattress, you might experience more pressure on your spine and pain around your back. And when you sleep on a mattress that is too “squishy”, it isn’t offering the proper support for your back. You can experience vast improvement in your pain levels by investing in a mattress that is somewhere in the middle and alleviate pain even more by sleeping with a pillow under your knees.
- Wearing Heels (And Other Types of Improper Footwear): They may be a fashion staple, but the harsh reality is that wearing heels too often will cause great harm to one’s back. Why is this? Because these shoes throw off a person’s balance and create instability when they are walking, thus making them have to work harder and strain just to hold themselves up properly. The same goes for other types of poor footwear like flipflops (both of these kinds of shoes don’t offer the proper support). When you are wearing the wrong kind of footwear, it will cause you to maintain very poor posture. Heels often make a person unconsciously arch their back more when they are standing or walking, therefore making the muscles around the spine work too hard. When you are still recovering from a back injury, it is best to leave the heels at home until you get the green light from your doctor to start wearing them again. Even then, wear them in moderation and avoid walking long distances in them.