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Lifestyle Factors That May Be Contributing to Your Chronic Back Pain

Lifestyle Factors That May Be Contributing to Your Chronic Back Pain

Acute back pain can develop after an injury or strain and typically resolves within a few weeks. Chronic back pain, on the other hand, persists for over 12 weeks, continuing even after treatment for the underlying issue.

Award-winning pain management physician Dr. John S. Michels specializes in treating acute and chronic pain. He has significant expertise in solving the riddle of what’s causing your back pain and developing a customized, nonsurgical treatment strategy that relieves your symptoms.

The origin of chronic back pain is often traceable to daily habits or lifestyle choices that stress the spine and surrounding musculature. Here’s what Dr. Michels and our team want you to know about factors contributing to your pain.

Sedentary lifestyle

Extended periods of sitting can lead to muscle stiffness, weakened core muscles, and pressure on spinal discs. These days, many jobs and hobbies require sitting for prolonged hours in front of a screen, increasing your chance of developing chronic back pain.

You can help prevent this complication of technology by getting up from your desk or the couch and moving around every hour. Using the stairs, parking as far as possible from your office, or taking a quick walk over lunch also boosts your activity level.

Include back-friendly workouts in your schedule, including strengthening and flexibility exercises combined with low-impact activities like swimming, cycling, or walking. Skipping exercise results in weak back and core muscles, making your back more susceptible to injury and chronic pain.

Poor posture

Persistently poor posture is a leading cause of chronic neck and back discomfort and pain. Slouching, hunching over devices, or even standing improperly places undue stress on spinal muscles, ligaments, tendons, discs, and joints. 

Practicing good posture helps protect your back and neck from damage that often results in chronic pain.

Excess body weight

Carrying extra pounds, especially in your midsection, can stress your spine and back muscles. This can accelerate disc degeneration and contribute to chronic pain.

Also, chronic inflammation can contribute to back pain and is often exacerbated by a diet high in processed foods, sugars, and unhealthy fats.

Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is vital to decreasing your risks of chronic back pain. Focus on balanced nutrition that provides the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients your bones, muscles, and circulatory system require for good health.

Improper lifting techniques

Lifting objects using your back instead of your legs or twisting while lifting can easily lead to back strains and injuries. Instead, practice proper techniques by maintaining your spine’s natural curves as you squat rather than bend at the waist to lift, letting your legs do the work.


Chronic stress can lead to muscle tension and spasms, resulting in back pain. Stress can also make you more sensitive to pain. Yoga and other meditative workouts help you de-stress, easing muscle tension.

Poor sleep habits

Sleeping on an overly soft or sagging mattress or using inadequate pillows can misalign your back and neck, leading to chronic pain. A good mattress and appropriate sleeping posture are crucial to spine health.

Adults also require 7-9 hours of restful sleep every night to give their bodies time to complete the regenerative processes that help rebuild and repair muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones.  

Repetitive movements

Repeating the same movements, whether at work, during sports training, or in daily activities, can strain muscles and spinal structures. 

Give your back a break by stretching periodically, alternating workouts, and using appropriate body mechanics when lifting, sitting, or standing. Dr. Michels can provide information about protecting your back and joints from repetitive motion injuries during sports and other activities.

Treating and preventing chronic back pain

Dr. Michels develops customized treatment strategies for his patients with chronic pain issues that may include activity modification, physical therapy, and other conservative therapies.

He may also recommend nonsurgical treatments such as epidural injections or nerve blocks to relieve pain and inflammation as you develop back-friendly habits.

Schedule a visit with Dr. Michels today for an effective strategy for treating and preventing chronic back pain. Call our office in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas, or request an appointment online.

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