10 Worst Mistakes to Make with Low Back Pain
After living with low back pain for a number of years, I have learned that being smarter than my problem is probably the single best way to manage the pain. I have learned that there are certain mistakes that can send spasms and soreness up and down my spine. You too can be smarter than your low back pain by avoiding these common mistakes.
You are making a mistake if you…
- Continue Doing the “BLT” activities: “B” is for bending, “L” is for lifting, “T” is for twisting. Any activity that requires a “BLT” motion is most likely to cause your back pain to get worse. Examples of some “BLT” activities include golfing and weeding, two of the worst things to do if you have low back pain.
- Continue Wearing Bad Shoes: What do shoes have to do with low back pain? Think of it this way, your shoes provide support for your entire body including your spine. If you are wearing high-heeled shoes or flip-flops then you are not giving your back much support at all and possibly contributing to the problem.
- Continue Sleeping on the same Old Mattress: Old mattresses have lost some of their firmness, tend not to support your curves well, and lack some of the newer technology. That old mattress might be causing your low back pain in the first place.
- Continue Standing when putting on Pants: You’d think that getting dressed would be no big deal. But take it from someone who has made this mistake before, do not stand while putting on pants because hopping on one leg can be disastrous.
- Continue Reaching: It is so tempting to reach for your purse, your coffee mug or your phone. But every time you reach, you place an extra amount of stress on your spine. Try moving your feet instead.
- Continue a Fast Pace: A fast pace makes you more likely to make a mistake. A fast pace means that your movement will be sloppy. A fast pace is just not sustainable if you have low back pain.
- Continue Eating Carbohydrates and Sugar: At the root of most low back pain is inflammation. Foods that cause your blood sugar to spike will only make the pain worse because sugar promotes inflammation.
- Continue Avoiding Exercise or Movement: Staying inactive is one of the worst mistakes to make if you have low back pain. Inactivity will make your low back pain worse over time because your muscle will get weaker and weaker. The muscles in your abdomen and buttocks need to stay strong in order to support your spine.
- Continue to Ignore Warning Signs: Certain signs are red flags that mean that something is seriously wrong with your spine and that you need to seek medical attention soon. Sudden urinary incontinence is one such warning sign. Progressive leg weakness is another.
- Continue Smoking: Smoking tobacco products is the worst mistake to make because it greatly impairs your body’s ability to heal and stay strong.
Christina Lasich, M.D., wrote about chronic pain and osteoarthritis for HealthCentral. She is physiatrist in Grass Valley, California. She specializes in pain management and spine rehabilitation.