The Anatomy of Back Pain – How Everyday Activities Hurt Our Spines

Back Pain
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Back in Pain: How Everyday Activities Hurt Our Spines

Back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide ー in fact, 8 in 10 adults will experience back pain in their lifetime

Anatomy of Back Pain

Our everyday actions and postures wear down our bodies
Hidden Causes
  • Bad posture
  • Stress
  • Muscle strain
  • Obesity
Americans are working longer hours now than in decades — and our bodies are feeling the repercussions of prolonged sitting, standing, and moving

Everyday Actions Which Can Cause Injury

  • Force
  • Lifting or moving overly heavy objects
  • Repetition
  • Repeating the same movements, especially twisting of the spine
  • Inactivity
  • Sitting for long periods with inadequate back support

Common Posture Mistakes

  • Craning forward
    Overextended muscles can lead to tension in back and shoulders
  • Slouched back
    The back and neck are strained by extreme backwards angles
  • Extended or raised neck
    A raised chin can cause pressure on neck, shoulder, and back

Surprising Costs of Back Pain

Missed Work
  • Lower back pain has historically cost Americans upwards of $100 billion per year – much due to lost wages and productivity
  • 50% of all working Americans have admitted to work absence due to back pain
  • 264 million: days of work lost every year due to back pain
    That equates to 2 workdays missed for every full-time worker
Americans pay at least $50 billion in health care costs each year
Almost 95% can get by with moderate care and expenses
BUT those who need procedures and therapy may find that costs add up quickly
$50-$100: Physical therapy per session
$50-$100: Walking assistance equipment
$200-$2,000: Surgery, after insurance*
Without insurance, these amounts can easily balloon $50K-$150K+: Surgery without insurance

Quality of Life

Pain-emotion connection
Pain can affect mood, concentration, and even appetite
Ability to do everyday activities
Repetitive chores involving standing or moving can be very difficult
Peace of mind
Not knowing the causes of pain can be frustrating and anxiety-inducing

If back discomfort is so prominent and debilitating, what can be done to prevent it?

Fending Off Pain

Quick fixes like ice and heat can improve symptoms, but aren’t effective at treating the origin of pain
At Work
What You Can Do
  • Pay attention to posture
    When sitting, maintain a forward curve in the lower back
    Avoid slouching by adjusting computer and keyboard
  • Adjust desk settings
    Move computer or laptop up to eye level to avoid craning neck
    Try utilizing a standing desk to keep spine straightened
  • Modify repetitive tasks
    If possible, utilize moving tools to help larger loads
    Alternate physically demanding tasks with less demanding ones

What Your Employer Can Do
  • Adhere to OSHA* standards
    Follow all rules and regulations set by U.S. Department of Labor
  • Monitor workplace conditions
  • Maintain safe environment free from recognized hazards
  • Provide adequate safety training
  • Keep employees up-to-date on current procedures and processes

Every Day
Improving your physical fitness can enhance your body’s ability to withstand daily activities
Exercise regularly
Low-impact aerobic activities can increase strength and endurance
Build muscle strength
Strengthen core, hips, and legs with abdominal and back exercises
Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight strains back muscles ─ trimming down can lessen pain
Sleep With Proper Support
Get a mattress with proper spine and neck support.

With Tech

Specialized apps can help you utilize these prevention and treatment methods
  • Kaia: At-home back pain relief program
    AI motion-tracking technology creates personalized treatment
    Cost: Free with in-app purchases
  • Down Dog: Simulated yoga class with new routine for every use
    Customizable sessions can target back pain and relief
    Cost: Free with optional paying membership
  • Headspace: Guided meditation and stress relief
    Series of meditations aimed at muscle relaxation
    Cost: Free introduction with paid monthly subscription options
  • Backache: Sends reminders to take breaks from sitting
    Includes physiotherapist-selected muscle and joint exercises
    Cost: $3.99

BUT see a doctor if your back pain:

  • Doesn’t improve with rest
  • Radiates down one or both legs
  • Causes muscle weakness or numbness
    Is accompanied by unexplained weight loss

Money, energy, quality of life 一 Back pain can cost more than we may think

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Additional Back Pain Resources:

The Best Mattresses for Back Pain

How to Sleep With Lower Back Pain

What Causes Lower Back Pain?

How To Relieve Lower Back Pain

Can a Good Mattress Help with Back Pain?

The Best Mattresses for Seniors with Back Pain

Best Mattress Topper for Back Pain