5 Causes of Neck and Back Pain (and How to Relieve it!)
If you’re suffering from neck and back pain, the first thing you should figure out is why. Neck and back pain can be caused by so many different factors—many of which are treatable. Read on for some of the most common causes of neck and back pain and how to treat it at home.
Reasons for neck and back pain
There are dozens of reasons for feeling pain in your neck and back area. And while no one cause can apply to every person, there are a few common reasons for feeling joint stiffness, soreness, and pain in your neck and back:
1. Spine problems
Your spine is an intricate chain of bones made out of disks and ligaments. Its purpose is to keep our bodies upright and connect different body parts together. So, it’s easy to understand why your back hurts when something is off with your spine. One of the most common spine-related issues are herniated (or slipped) disks. Herniated disks cause pain in the lower back area because the tissue in between your joints has come out. Slipped disks are usually caused by regular wear and tear on the body so it’s not uncommon! Once you get older, it’s common for the disks in your spine to wear down and shrink which causes pain by rubbing the bones together (ouch!) This is called degenerative disc disease.
There are many different spine problems that can cause pain in your back so if you’re dealing with severe irritation, make sure to visit your doctor so they can check to see if your spine is healthy!
2. Your lifestyle
Many of our aches and pains are simply caused by tasks we do on a daily!
While some of these triggers may be obvious, many you may not even think about while going through your day-to-day routine. If you’re suffering from neck and back pain, ask yourself these questions first:
· Are you exercising regularly? Working out regularly helps to strengthen your back and lessens the risk of back pain. It can also help to improve your posture.
· Do you regularly lift heavy objects? Whether it be at home or at your job, lifting heavy items can cause strain on your back. If this is something you’re doing regularly, always lift with your knees and look into wearing a back brace for extra support.
· Do you sit at a desk all day? On the flip side, if your job or lifestyle requires that you sit at a desk all day, this can also cause pain. Keep your computer screen at eye level, put a pillow behind your lower back, and get up and walk around for at least 10 minutes every hour. Inactivity can be a huge cause of neck and back pain (we even wrote an entire blog post about it here!)
· Do you smoke? Believe it or not, smoking cigarettes can cause back pain! Smoking reduces the amount of calcium your body can absorb which can lead to fragile bones and slower healing after a back injury.
· Is your mattress supportive? Unsupportive mattresses can lead to lower back pain by causing bad sleeping posture and muscle strain.
· Do you wear high heels regularly? Shoes with heels literally alter the way your spine is aligned which as we know, can cause pain. Heels also force you to arch your back by walking on the balls of your feet.
3. Injuries caused by accidents
This one may seem a bit obvious to some, but accidents or injuries are a major cause of neck and back pain. When you injure yourself, you run the risk of muscle strains and sprains, tears, and fractures which can all cause aching in your back. Most back pain will go away within four weeks after an accident but it’s important that you take it easy while in recovery.
4. Weak bones
As we get older, our bodies reabsorb the calcium in our bones instead of keeping it there. This causes weak bones, otherwise known as osteoporosis. The symptoms of osteoporosis are back pain, poor posture, easily breakable bones, and even loss of height. Not everyone deals with osteoporosis as they age and in fact, there are certain factors that may put you more at risk. Women, people of white and Asian descent, and those with small body frames are all at a higher risk to developing osteoporosis as they age. Many people don’t even know they have osteoporosis until they fracture or break a bone so if you’re dealing with any sort of chronic pain, it’s so important to see a doctor before that can happen.
This may be hard to hear (especially during a global pandemic) but yes, stress can cause back pain. Stress affects the body in so many ways including headaches, insomnia, heartburn, and poor posture and tense muscles. When people feel stress, their posture tends to weaken, and they usually put on weight. The combination of these two factors along with tense muscles and the lack of physical activity can all lead to back pain.
How to relieve neck and back pain
First things first, if you’re suffering from chronic back pain that affects your daily life, it’s important for you to see a doctor to figure out why. If your neck and back pain are caused by lifestyle triggers, minor injury, or stress, there are a few easy things you can do at home to relieve it:
· Get moving! It can be hard to exercise when dealing with back pain but staying active loosens tense muscles and even releases endorphins in your brain.
· If you sit at a desk for work all day, make the necessary changes to reduce stress on your back. Keep your computer screen at eye level, check in on your posture to make sure you’re not slouching, and get up and walk around every so often.
· Don’t forget to stretch it out. Like exercising, stretching can loosen those tense or stiff muscles and joints. Try doing a few simple back stretches when you wake up each day.
· Use a cool and hot pain relieving patch like the SINSINPAS AREX Instant Pain Relief Patch. This patch can be applied anywhere on the body that is suffering from aches and pain, including your neck and back! It provides long-lasting pain relief and the best part is It’s made out of ultra-flexible fabric so that you can apply it and go about your day like normal!