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It’s a statistic probability that you’ll deal with back pain at some point in your life. But whether you’ve experienced it yet or not, these are five common issues that can lead to painful backs.

  1. Your terrible mattress.

    There isn’t one perfect mattress out there for everyone, but there is a best mattress for you as an individual. Characteristics like body type, size, gender, personal comfort levels all play a role. In general, a supportive mattress should maintain the natural curves in your spine when you’re lying on your back or your sides. A mattress that sinks into a “hammock” effect is a recipe for a sore back in the morning.

  2. Your worn-out shoes.

    Take a close look at your favorite shoes. If the soles or heels look worn down, this is a problem. Ineffective footwear will result directly in back pain. And beware the spiky heels!

  3. You don’t get enough exercise.

    Exercising is the single most effective thing you can do to help prevent low back pain. Studies have shown again and again that people who exercise regularly suffer from less pain, visit doctors less often, feel better overall and enjoy an improved quality of life. Both core strengthening and hamstring stretches will help keep back pain away and should be an regular part of your fitness plan.

  4. You don’t eat well or maintain a healthy weight.

    A poor diet can contribute to weight gain, which is a major contributor to low back pain. There are many, many reasons to maintain a healthy weight, and reducing low back pain is only one of them.

  5. You slouch.

    Posture matters! We’ve written before about the importance of sitting and standing up straight, and in our sedentary world, it’s even more of an issue. A slumped back increases its load, leading to low pain.

With a list like this, it’s easy to see why back pain is an issue for so many of us. But while it isn’t always financially doable to spring for a new mattress or even a pair of shoes, it doesn’t cost anything to sit up straight or cut back on the soda. If you deal with low back regularly, try making changes to avoid the issues listed above, and consider scheduling a visit with Dr. McSweeney.