Everyday activities exacerbating your back pain, three to soothe inflammation

Our Jacksonville, FL pain care experts cite these common habits among the top causes for worsening back pain


It’s time to take stock of your weekday routine – How quickly do you get moving in the morning after waking up? How long is your commute? What do you do to unwind after work? The answers to these simple questions can easily be used to estimate the health of your back.


We often think of back pain originating from spinal complications, age or injury; however, many daily activities may also increase a person’s risk of experiencing discomfort in this high-risk area and even exacerbate existing conditions. For example, when revisiting the questions in the first paragraph – if you spend extra time in bed instead of getting moving, have a long commute and like to unwind with TV time after work – you are likely at an increased risk of developing or worsening back pain. 


Many might find it surprising that added leisure time sitting and laying could contribute to back pain. While these kinds of daily activities are not intense, they often cause a build-up of pressure and strain on the back, resulting in ongoing or long-term back pain. 


In an effort to help protect patients, our Jacksonville, FL health team pulled together a list of activities attributed to increased risk of developing or worsening painful back conditions. While reading this article, it’s important to remember the old adage – “a life lived in fear is a life half lived.” Many of these activities are unavoidable and not inherently dangerous. What’s worth remembering is that they should be performed or enjoyed in moderation. Better yet, we’ve also included three easy activities for reducing back inflammation, which can be used in tandem to improve/safeguard your back health. 


Five everyday activities hurting your back health

Some of the most common activities that could cause lower back pain include:


Walking/Sitting On Uneven Surfaces

Here in the Sunshine State, we love long walks on the beach. The sun, fresh air and physical activity can provide a significant boost to our mood and health, but occasionally doing too much good can hurt us in the end. A long walk in one direction on a sloping shoreline can often disrupt our natural walking motion and cause additional stress on the back. 


The same is true when sitting on an uneven surface. This is why many health experts advise against keeping wallets in our back pockets. Furthermore, driving for long periods on uneven or bumpy roads can cause strain on the lower back. 


Sleeping On A Very Soft or Hard Mattress 

Whether you want to sink into your mattress or enjoy a more stiff option, it’s important to note going too extreme could place an unnecessary burden on your spine, leading to pain. A mattress that is too soft causes a slight shift in the spine’s shape, thereby stressing the muscles, ligaments and joints. Conversely, a very firm or hard mattress can place too much pressure on the hips, thus straining lumbar areas. Look for a mattress somewhere in the middle of the spectrum for truly restorative sleep. 


Sitting For Extended Periods

The average person in the U.S. sits for 6.5 hours, a metric that has steadily increased over the years. Whether driving, remaining stationary at a workstation or binge-watching a season of our favorite Netflix series, it all spells bad news for our backs. It is generally recommended to stand for 15-30 minutes or walk once an hour to reduce adverse risk. Walking and standing each hour is a great way to alleviate pressure on your spine.



Tobacco use has been linked to many medical conditions and health concerns, including chronic pain. Research has found smokers face a more considerable prevalence and risk of back pain than former smokers and those who have never smoked. In short, smoking handicaps the body’s ability to deliver oxygen-rich blood to tissues and bones, preventing healing and prompting inflammation. This is massively detrimental to individuals already suffering or at risk of developing back pain. 


Exercising improperly

Staying active is essential for maintaining good health, but it can also raise the risk of injury, especially if your workouts incorporate exercises where the proper form is necessary to prevent injury. While weightlifting may come to mind first, yoga can actually be just as risky as yoga involves a lot of stretching and twisting. Sacrificing good form while in vulnerable positions can cause back pain. If you are new to a particular activity, like weightlifting or yoga, always work out with the help of a qualified person to get the basics right. Working out is an incredible way to strengthen one’s back with the right guidance and form. 


Three habits to reduce inflammation and build a strong back

So, we’ve learned about potentially risky everyday activities that may cause or worsen back pain, but what about habits that can help? Here are a few suggestions to reduce inflammation and back pain*: 


Swim In Warm Water

Regular swim time or structured pool exercises, like water aerobics, provide many benefits, especially those dealing with chronic pain. The buoyancy of the water lets you enjoy the benefits of training with less impact on muscles and joints. Exercising in water also helps regulate the functioning of nerves and muscles, relieving pain. If you prefer warmer pools, look into water exercise classes and hydrotherapy pools, which utilize higher water temperatures to loosen muscles and improve blood circulation. 


Stretch Those Hammies

One often overlooked contributor to lower back pain is tight hamstrings. If your hamstring muscles, which are located in the back of your thighs, are too stiff your lower back and sacroiliac joints will be affected. Ultimately leading to more pain. Hamstring stretching should be done carefully and at least twice per day.


Skip the High Heels 

In most cases, high heels aren’t worn for comfort. Although they may provide a confidence boost or enhance your outfit, wearing them too often can lead to lower back pain, achy hips, and tightness in the leg muscles. Therefore, it is always recommended that those with back pain wear properly fitting shoes with cushioned soles. 


If you enjoyed this article and are experiencing chronic back pain, we want to help you. Contact our Jacksonville, FL health and wellness team today. We’re standing by to provide you with the very best health advice, products and services to help you feel your best. Call us at 904-724-5767 or request an appointment to get started today. 


*We recommend patients consider their individual abilities and consult their primary caregiver before attempting. 


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