Back pain is not an uncommon problem these days. If you are facing back pain which is chronic in nature, you are more prone to develop a physical “disuse syndrome.”
What is disuse syndrome?
Basically, this syndrome tells the effects of a sedentary lifestyle on the physic and mind of a person. It was first described in 1984 and since then, it has gained much attention in relation to back pain. The underlying reason for disuse syndrome is physical inactivity and it is prevailing in the sedentary society.
Impacts of disuse syndrome
A sedentary lifestyle leads to the collapse of many body functions. It is commonly said about the muscles of the body, “Use it or lose it”. There are many bad impacts of an inactive lifestyle. Some of which are described below:
- In the musculoskeletal system, if muscles are not used properly for some time, it results in muscular atrophy and muscle wasting. The example can be given as, in case of a fractured limb, when the limb is immobilized for weeks, significant muscle wasting happens and the diameter of the limb is reduced as compared to the opposite one. Similarly, disuse syndrome leads to the muscle wasting of all the body. When talked about back, wastage of back muscles leads to back pain and difficulty in movements.
- The cardiovascular system is also affected by disuse syndrome. Oxygen uptake is reduced, systolic blood pressure is increased and overall plasma volume is reduced. Since intervertebral discs have already less blood supply, these cardiovascular changes lead to further compromise of blood supply to intervertebral discs, ligaments, tendons and back muscles. This results in back muscle spasm and chronic back pain.
- A sedentary lifestyle also results in nervous system changes, memory problems, insomnia, depression, and anxiety. These effects also cause worsening of back pain. Back pain itself causes anxiety, depression and sleep problems and these mental changes aggravate back pain and thus a vicious cycle is started.
- The persons who are inactive, are more prone to be obese. Extra weight puts extra pressure on the vertebral column and back muscles. Back muscles are thus strained and the risk of back pain is enhanced.
Lifestyle habits to Prevent Back Pain
The lifestyle has a major effect, after injuries, to the vertebral column. You can adopt the following measures to prevent back pain.
Do not live an inactive life
An inactive lifestyle is not good, especially for your body. A sedentary lifestyle inhibits the proper conditioning of the body and the risk of damage to the body is enhanced. So always consider living an active life. It is a common saying that an active lifestyle keeps a man pain free.
Always consider proper lifting techniques because even if you are living an active life, your techniques of lifting objects are not proper, you are at risk of developing back pain.
Be conscious of your posture
Good posture is the key to prevent lower back pain. So if you are active and do the regular walk but your posture is not good, you may develop back pain. Do not lean forward while walking and keep your back straight.
Tips for Boosting your Activity Levels
You can consider the following tips to boost your activity levels.
1) Wear fitness device
According to studies, it is one of the best methods to avoid an inactive day. When you count your daily steps or keep an eye on your activity level, it further stimulates you to be active.
2) Think of getting a dog
Many persons claim that their activity level increased significantly after they had got a dog. It is a common observation that a four-legged friend is the best stimulator for a walk.
3) Take proper exercise breaks
If you do an office job and sit at a desk for prolonged periods of time, you may consider setting an alarm after every hour and get up and walk for five to ten minutes.
4) Park your vehicle away from your workplace
It is a good strategy to walk for fifteen to twenty minutes a day that park your vehicle at a distance from your office or store.
5) Take the long route
If you want to approach a meeting or a colleague’s desk, do not walk at a shorter distance. Always consider taking a longer route to cover more steps.
6) Consider sitting exercises
When you are suffering from any illness or have a tight schedule, it is difficult to get time to a walk. But you should take a few minutes many times in a day to practice sitting exercises.
Effect of Exercise on Your Back
Taking proper exercise daily decreases the back stiffness by keeping the tendons and ligaments flexible. Improved mobility of back muscles via exercise prevents the tearing of connective tissues which decreases the risk of soft tissue injury and back pain.
Learn the right exercises
Patients must always practice the right exercises. Improper way of exercise can give you harm instead of benefit.
Bear some initial discomfort when starting a new exercise
Do not expect that your back pain is immediately relieved when you are starting with an exercise. Initially, you have to suffer from mild discomfort but this condition is gone after a few days and then you’ll be relaxed.
Practice a combination of stretching and strengthening exercises
If you practice a combination of above-mentioned components, it will enhance the healing process of pre-existing injuries and thus your back pain is relieved.