Did you know 3.4 million Australians are affected by chronic pain?
As we enter National Pain Week in July, we focus on raising awareness of spine pain and how your everyday choices impact the health of your spine.
At The Brisbane Spine Clinic, we often see patients whose spine pain is influenced by lifestyle factors such as poor posture, obesity, sedentary habits, repetitive motions, smoking, unhealthy diet, stress, anxiety, and inadequate sleep.
Identifying the lifestyle factors contributing to your spine pain
Are lifestyle factors contributing to your persistent pain? Here are some common causes of spine pain, and how physiotherapy can help.
- Poor Posture- Whether you’re studying hard, hunched over your desk, lifting heavy loads at work, or slouched while scrolling through your phone, your posture can have a profound impact on your long-term health. It can also be a significant contributor to spine pain. Your physiotherapist can assess your posture and provide you with advice and exercises to help you improve it.
- Obesity- carrying extra weight puts added stress on your joints, including those in your back can affect the health of your spine, often resulting in pain. Physiotherapy can involve tailoring an exercise program to help to a healthy weight, strengthen muscles, and improve overall fitness. With their guidance and ongoing support, you can make positive changes to manage pain and improve your spinal health.
- Sedentary Lifestyle- if you don’t engage in regular physical activity, your muscles can weaken, and your posture may suffer, putting strain on your spine. Activities like yoga, pilates, walking, swimming, and cycling, can help keep your body moving and your spine healthy. Your physiotherapist can guide you in finding the right activities and exercises to counter the effects of a sedentary lifestyle and relieve back pain.
- Repetitive Movement- movements such as repeatedly lifting heavy objects or bending and twisting can, over time, put excessive stress on your spine. This can lead to discomfort and pain as the structures supporting your spine gradually wear down. A physiotherapist can evaluate your movement patterns and recommend strategies to reduce strain on your spine. By practicing proper body mechanics, taking regular breaks, and incorporating stretching and strengthening exercises, you may lower your risk of spine pain.
- Smoking- it’s no secret that smoking isn’t good for your general health, but did you know that your smoking habit could be negatively impacting your spine? By diminishing blood circulation, oxygenation, and calcium absorption, smoking can weaken your bones and muscles, potentially leading to spine pain. Your physiotherapist may provide guidance and support to quit or reduce smoking for a healthier spine and overall, a healthier you.
- Poor Diet- maintaining a healthy diet is essential for your overall well-being. Certain foods can contribute to inflammation and overconsumption of unhealthy foods can promote weight gain, which could worsen your pain. It’s important to prioritise a balanced diet. Your physiotherapist may provide guidance on nutrition to support your spine health and help you manage pain.
- Stress and Anxiety- did you know emotional factors such as anxiety, depression, anger, irritability, and stress can impact the functioning of your nervous system and your risk of developing chronic pain is higher? Additionally, stress and anxiety may contribute to your spine pain by increasing muscle tension in your back and shoulders. As physiotherapists, we recognise the importance of addressing and managing these emotional factors alongside physical treatments. By incorporating strategies to promote emotional well-being and stress management into your treatment plan, we can enhance your overall pain management.
- Poor Sleeping Habits- you already knew that sleep plays an important role in maintaining your overall health, but did you know that it’s also important to prioritise adequate and restful sleep to support your body’s recovery from chronic pain. Your physiotherapist may provide guidance on optimal sleep positions and recommendations tailored to your specific spine-related concerns.
Physiotherapy for spine pain management
Remember, your spine is the backbone of your body (pun intended!). Looking after your spine now will pay off in the long run.
At The Brisbane Spine Clinic, our experienced physiotherapists take a personalised approach, creating tailored treatment plans that may include exercises, manual therapy, and education to improve posture, strengthen core muscles, enhance flexibility, and relieve pain.
Our goal is to help you take control of your pain and maximise the benefits of physiotherapy by addressing lifestyle factors that affect the health of your spine.
Contact us to book an assessment with one of our spinal consultants.
*Please note, the content within this article is for educational purposes only, and the treatment and advice mentioned may not be suited for everyone. Please consult a team member at The Brisbane Spine Clinic or your General Practitioner for specific advice.
Australian Physiotherapy Association. (2021). Five Facts About Pain Prevention. https://australian.physio/inmotion/five-facts-about-pain-prevention
Pain Australia. (2020). National Pain Week. www.painaustralia.org.au/media-document/enews-1/enews-2021-1/issue-106/national-pain-week
Physiopedia. (2023). Obesity. www.physio-pedia.com/Obesity
Physiopedia. (2023). Posture. www.physio-pedia.com/Posture
Physiopedia. (2023). Smoking and Exercise. www.physio-pedia.com/Smoking_and_Exercise
Sleep Health Foundation. (2020). Pain and Sleep. www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au/pain-and-sleep.html