For a lot of people, back and/or neck pain is unavoidable. 8 out of 10 people will experience back pain at some point in their lives. Degenerative Disc Disease is a condition a lot of people experience with the natural aging process. Degenerative Disc Disease, or DDD occurs as the discs in the spine degenerate due to natural wear and tear or trauma to the spine.

Athletes who play contact sports tend to experience DDD later in life. Some everyday tips to protect your spine can decrease the damage to your spine.

Lifting

There is a proper way to lift an object, to keep the pressure off your spine. Are you using it?

The heavier the object, the more important it is that you follow the steps above. If you bend your entire body over, you are putting the weight of the box on your spine, which puts pressure on the discs between the vertebrae. Discs are the shock absorbers of the spine. 

Lifting an object incorrectly can be more painful than DDD. Colleen Toye came to Disc of Louisiana in excruciating pain after she herniated a disc trying to lift a heavy suitcase. In the chart above, the man is lifting with his legs. Instead of using your back, use your leg muscles for the strength to lift a suitcase, a box or anything for that matter.

2. Posture

Back pain is not only for athletes or former athletes. You do not have to work-out to have pain. In fact, it could increase your chances of struggling with back pain, especially if you have poor posture at work or while traveling.

Take a look at this chart we created, to point out a few key takeaways.

When you sit in a chair, scoot your body all the way to the back of the chair. You want to sit at a 100 degree to 110 degree angle. This man is sitting mostly correctly, but take a good look at his neck. His cervical spine is completely curved as he looks down at his phone. This position can lead to a condition commonly called “Text Neck.” In the 21st century people spend so much time looking down at their phones, it puts a lot of pressure on the neck. Try holding your phone higher and take frequent breaks from looking at your phone to avoid any neck discomfort.

3. What are you wearing?

The shoes you wear can also either add pressure to your spine, or relieve pressure. You should look for shoes that will do a good job absorbing some of the shock as you walk, work, exercise or anything else you want to do in your free time. It’s important, especially if you already have back pain – to make a change to all your shoes – not just your athletic shoes.

  • Important Factors When Picking Your Shoes
  • Material
  • Gender 
  • Style
  • Arch Support

Material

The material of your shoe should be durable and flexible. It should allow your foot to rest inside comfortably, with enough balance to distribute your weight appropriately to the rest of your body. 

Gender

The way men and women carry their weight is different, so shoes made for each gender will represent that as well. 

Style

Flat shoes versus flats versus tennis shoes will distribute the weight of your body differently. That’s why flat shoes with flat bottoms, like flip flops tend to cause back pain.

Arch Support

Even shoes built with appropriate arch support, may not work for you as a single person. Every person’s body is different. It’s important to try shoes on to make sure you are buying shoes that fit comfortably and support the arches in each of your individual feet.

The Shoe Adviser goes into more details about each of these topics and has some recommendations to try as you treat back pain.

4. Work it out

People who are overweight tend to experience more back pain. Living a healthy life style includes exercising and stretching. If you are combating back pain or a back condition like scoliosis, Yoga or Pilates can help stretch your spine in a healthy way and keep your spine aligned.

Have you been suffering with chronic back or neck pain? Have you tried some of the things in this article with no relief? It may be time to consult a surgeon about your personal options. You can request an appointment by filling out the form below or by calling our office at 985-400-5778.