If you are like most people who throw your back out, you might blame one single, solitary action for your pain. You might angrily stare at that heavy school backpack, or wonder why you tried to move that bookshelf on your own. However, some back problems develop slowly over time, because of simple mistakes you make when you aren't paying attention. Here are three everyday habits that could be hurting your back, and what you can do to fend off trouble:
1: Staring at that Smartphone
During your day, you might rely on your smartphone for everything from delivering your daily news to helping you to connect with old friends. Although your tiny, sleek device might seem harmless, it can actually cause a slew of back and neck problems if you aren't careful. As you tap and scroll on your pretty glass screen, you might be straining muscles and pinching nerves.
Although the average human head weighs about 12 pounds, your neck muscles have to support much more weight when you are hunched over a cell phone screen. Gravitational pull increases the weight burden that your neck has to handle whenever you tilt your head. In fact, if your head is tilted a mere 45 degrees, your neck has to support 49 pounds of weight. Since most people spend 2-4 hours looking at their phone, the constant load can spell problems for your spine.
To avoid problems, pay attention to how you are holding your neck as you type away on your phone. Try to sit up straight and maintain a neutral spine when you look at your cell phone. Although you might risk dropping your phone on your face, lying down while you use your cell phone can take a lot of pressure off of your back. However you choose to surf, remember that a bad cell phone posture habit can cause a lot of heartache down the road.
2: Not Adjusting Your Stance In the Car
When you hop in the car to take your kids to school, you might not be too concerned about correcting your seated stance. Instead of taking your time to get comfortable, you might focus on beating that slow stoplight or handing your baby their bottle again. However, your seated posture in your car can really make a difference.
When you get into a car, you might naturally end up a little twisted around. Although you might find yourself leaning to the right to change gears and to hit that gas pedal, your body might be at a little bit of an angle. If you carry a large wallet in your back pocket, this angled stance might be even more exaggerated. Unfortunately, a bad seated stance in the car might cause your body weight to pull at your delicate spine improperly. If you aren't careful, you might find yourself with an achy back.
To keep your back happy, take the time to get adjusted after you get into your car. Try to keep your sit bones and your shoulders square with the seat and the wheel. Never sit on large wallets or purses that could throw off your posture.
3: Lifting Things Improperly
Although you have probably heard the old adage to lift with your legs, most people make the mistake of lifting objects that aren't close enough to their bodies. Unfortunately, the further something is away from your center of gravity, the harder it will be for you to lift, and the more damage it can do to your back. Here are a few ways to fend off trouble:
- Kids: Parents everywhere constantly find themselves lifting heavy car seats or moving around toddlers that have run into their legs. To lift your child properly, pull them in as close to your body as possible before you stand up. To minimize the load of that car seat, consider leaving it buckled in your car and then moving your child to and from the seat, instead of moving the seated child in and out of the car.
- Boxes: During your workday, it might seem faster to heft those boxes on your own as opposed to calling a buddy or using that forklift. However, you might end up paying for your mistake later. Always use proper lifting equipment, and never worry about asking for a little help.
If you have trouble lifting things properly, talk with your chiropractor or see a site like http://cochiropractor.com. Your doctor can give you advice for how to handle jogging toddlers or heavy loads at work, so that you can keep your back healthy.