If it seems like everyone you know, including yourself, has back pain, you actually might be close to the truth.
“If you go on the street and pick a random group of people, 20 percent will say they have back pain right now, 40 percent will have had it in the past year, and 80 percent have had back pain over the course of their lives,” says Patrick Roth, M.D., chairman of the department of neurosurgery at New Jersey’s Hackensack University Medical Center and author of The End of Back Pain. That’s a lot of back pain.
The cause of all the discomfort? For people over 60, back pain often comes from spinal stenosis, or arthritic wear and tear. “As we age, the joints become enlarged and generate pain,” says Dr. Roth. But that’s not always the case. In many instances, the cause of back pain isn’t as clear.
One thing is for sure, there are certain things, like improperly lifting a heavy object, that can throw your back off and create pain. Here, seven other things that you might not know cause pain, but should be mindful of
If you do have back pain…
Though doctors used to recommend bedrest to help back pain, the thinking has changed. “There’s no doubt that returning to activity as best you can is the best thing for back pain,” says Dr. Roth. “Movement actually makes pain better.” He also recommends doing exercise as well as you can, then when the pain has passed, strengthening your core and abdominal muscles, which help keep your back strong.
As for the best way to lift heavy objects? “You want to do a hip hinge rather than bend from the back,” says Dr. Roth. Keep your knees slightly bent and your back locked. “Olympic weightlifters are the least likely to have back problems because they are so meticulous about their form,” he says. To learn how to properly lift an object click here. And keep in mind that you should use that technique no matter what you’re picking up.