Posted on 22-10-2015 17:51:01
It can be easy to pinpoint the cause of sudden back pain. Moving boxes. A killer workout. But it can be trickier to discover the reasons behind chronic back pain. Here, some surprising factors that may be to blame for your achy back.
You're stressed out
"Emotional outlook is a big predictor of back pain," says Todd Sinett, a New York City-based chiropractor and author of 3 Weeks To A Better Back. Mental distress manifests itself physiologically, says Sinett. "If you're uptight for a long period of time, that muscle tension can lead to aches and spasms," he says. Common areas for stress-triggered back pain include the neck and shoulder region and lower back. Try relaxation techniques like deep breathing (inhale slowly for a count of four, hold the breath for a count of four, exhale for a count of four), a walk, or yoga.
Your heels are too high
Your fashionable shoe collection might be bothering your back. "High heels throw off your center of gravity," says William Suggs, a certified personal trainer and licensed sports nutritionist in New York City. Heels make you lean forward to walk, put extra pressure on the feet, and cause you to not fully extend the calf. This puts more strain and stress on the lower back, which can cause pain, he says. "If you must wear heels for work, invest in a nice pair of walking shoes for the commute and change at the office," says Suggs.
Your diet is "dirty"
A 2014 study in the Asian Spine Journal found that about 31 percent of women and 25 percent of men who suffered from back pain also had gastrointestinal complaints, such as abdominal pain or food intolerance. The link between nutrition and back pain is all about inflammation; foods high in fat and sugar trigger inflammation throughout the body, including the lower back. When Sinett's father injured his back, he saw an improvement in back pain symptoms when he cut back on sugar and caffeine. Aim for "clean" whole foods instead of processed ones whenever possible. "Always have a protein like lean meat or beans, a good whole grain like brown rice, and vegetables," Suggs says.