This Back Awareness Month we are looking at what causes back pain? The answer is simple. Stress!
Certain things might jump to your mind when you think of stress, however there are many different types of stress. Let’s break them down into the 3 main types.
This is all about how you look after your body physically. Poor posture and bad lifting techniques are obvious culprits. Lack of exercise and stretching, repetitive movements, accidents and falls, carrying your kids – the list goes on.
The biggest piece of advice I have for this type of stress is, keep movement varied and frequent. There are ideal postures we should adopt, however the worst position is the one you spent most of your time in. If you’ve been working from home during the pandemic then the amount you need to move, compared to commuting and walking around an office, is dramatically reduced. Try and move each joint in your body through its full range of movement at least twice per day.
We are all affected by this one but rarely do people link it to back pain. The truth is, worrying about a deadline, running around after your kids, making ends meet, having a never ending to do list all affect you physically and cause pain. A classic example, how many times have you heard someone say they’ve had a stressful day at work and now they have a headache?
Although not an obvious cause, emotional stress probably causes or is involved in 80-90% of the patients we see!
What can you do? There’s a huge amount of advice about stress management available. What my patients find most helpful are taking time for yourself (‘me’ time), doing a daily gratitude journal, walks in nature and meditation. Different things work for different people, but it’s important to find what works for you.
This is probably the least obvious one. It’s our environment and what we put into our body. We all know ‘we are what we eat’ and it’s true. Our cells are changing constantly, millions of cells per minute. So if you put crap in, you get crap out.
A simple one to solve, eat clean home cooked food that’s as close as possible to how nature provides it (more raw, less processed).