7 Hidden Causes of Back Pain

Back pain has a number of potential causes--- from muscle strains to herniated discs to arthritis--- but many people suffer from what's known as non-specific lower back pain. "Non-specific" means that there is no single, exact cause or injury responsible for your pain. But just because your pain doesn't show up an MRI scan doesn't mean it isn't real. Problems with your posture, gait, diet, and whether or not your overweight can all contribute to lower back pain. Plus there are a number of everyday habits you may have that may be making your symptoms worse. Here are some surprising sources of back pain we see in our Florham Park patients:

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1. Your iPad: Spending hours watching YouTube videos on your tablet may be relaxing way to pass the time during these winter months, but having poor posture as you do so can place significant strain on the muscles and ligaments in your upper back and neck.  Over time these initial aches can cause you to develop trigger points, or muscle knots, which cause referred pain and diminished function. Try propping the screen up as you surf the web, and bring your iPhone up to your eye level as you text or email.

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2. Your TV, your computer, or anything that makes you sit for too long!  Spending to much time sitting can weaken the muscles in your back, making you more susceptible to injury. Sitting places about 40% more loading on your spine than standing. If you're an office worker, take a break once every hour to get a glass of water, go to the bathroom, stretch, or walk over to a coworkers desk instead of just emailing them.

3. Your Shoes: Those stylish stilettos force your rear upward and lock up your lumbar spine. This changes how your body carries weight and substantially strains the muscles in your lower back. Ballet flats that fail to provide adequate support can also contribute to back pain.

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4. Your Purse: Taking the kitchen sink with you in your bag before you leave has its benefits in terms of preparedness, but it can wreck havoc on the muscles in your shoulders and back. Heavy bags strain the muscles and ligaments, which again, can cause trigger point and referred pains.  Always carrying your purse on one side of the body can overwork the muscles on that side and permanently affect your posture. Try switching up which side you wear your purse and take only the bare essentials with you before you leave.

5. Your Break from the Gym: Failing to have a regular exercise routine can cause you to lose strength in the muscles and ligaments in your back, legs, and core. Weakened muscles are more susceptible to injury and less capable of accomplishing everyday tasks with ease. Being overweight can also cause more strain on the joints and tissues of the spine.

6. Your smoking habit. Smoking has been found to increase your risk of back pain and other spinal conditions.

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7. Your junk food habit. Having a poor diet can contribute to weight gain and obesity, which may raise your risk of back pain. Poor nutrition can also inhibit your body's ability to respond to stress and inflammation.

Part of diagnosing your back pain is identifying whether these and any other habits are contributing. Florham Park chiropractor Dr. Anthony Rivano takes into account all of these issues, in addition to your personal medical history and results on  orthopedic, chiropractic, and neurological examinations. Find back pain relief in Florham Park, FL with Rivano Chiropractic Health Center.