Lifestyle and Your Lumbar Spine

Low back pain is one of the most common problems experienced by adults all over the world. Tension, aching, radiating pain, and other symptoms are often related to age. They are also related to repetitive motions like pulling, reaching, straining, bending, and twisting. Without proper body mechanics, one wrong move could land you in bed for days. Beyond how we move, though, the low back may be affected by other factors related to our lifestyle and general health. We’ll discuss those here.

About Lumbar Spinal Pain

It doesn’t take a traumatic injury for lumbar pain to develop. Discomfort and limited mobility can also result from wear-and-tear, and they often do. Proper medical care is important to understand the origin of low back pain. In many cases, conservative care can minimize symptoms. Surgery is usually not the first recommendation, even from a spinal surgeon. We must know what is causing pain, though, and the extent of the injury, so we can develop an appropriate treatment plan.

Lumbar spine problems are often attributed to the natural aging process. However, lifestyle also plays a role, and not in the way you might think. When a lumbar spine condition has been diagnosed, there is the potential for worsening as a result of various lifestyle factors. The following are examples of conditions that may worsen in response to certain habits or health problems:

  • Herniated disc. This condition occurs when the soft center of a disc pushes through a small opening in the disc’s shell. The opening is like a crack caused by the fibrous tissue drying out.
  • Degenerative disc disease. This low back problem involves the breakdown of the cushiony disc between two vertebrae.
  • Low back sprains and strains, which affect the muscles or ligaments that support the spine, can occur as a result of poor posture or body mechanics.

How Lifestyle May Affect the Low Back

Spinal conditions may worsen due to factors such as:

  • This habit doesn’t just affect the lungs. Smoking introduces carbon monoxide into the bloodstream. It also robs the bloodstream of sufficient oxygen; oxygen that needs to go to the body, including spinal discs.
  • If you exercise too hard and fast, you could stress the low back and experience a problem like worsening disc degeneration or a sprain or strain. Likewise, spinal conditions can become worse if you do not move your body enough. Without a good balance of exercise vs rest, the spine can degrade more quickly.
  • Studies correlate diabetes with low back pain. Data indicate a 35% higher chance of lumbar spine problems for people with Type I or Type II diabetes.

Your Back Pain is Telling You Something

Back pain indicates a problem. However, it does not indicate that you must have spine surgery. To address back pain, the first place to start is with a consultation. To schedule yours, call our NYC office at 212-606-1004.

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