Bad Habits That Worsen Your Spine Pain

While chronic spine pain is often the result of unavoidable trauma from a fall or car accident, persistent back pain can also develop because of your everyday bad habits.

At The Institute for Comprehensive Spine Care, Gbolahan Okubadejo, MD, FAAOS, treats many people with increasing back pain caused by aging and trauma. He also advises those who are suffering with back pain due to their own bad habits.

Dr. Bo provides insight into common causes of back pain, as well as which habits you need to correct now to prevent a lifetime of back and spine pain.

Chronic conditions that cause back pain

Trauma to your back and spine can lead to painful conditions that worsen over time. You can also develop persistent back pain because of age-related changes that occur in your back as you get older.

Some of the most common underlying conditions that lead to chronic back and spine pain include:

In addition to the persistent pain, you may also experience limitations in your mobility that ultimately lead to a disability as a result of these conditions.

Often, treatment for these conditions involves physical therapy, medications, and in severe cases, spine surgery.

How your bad habits impact back health

There are a number of bad habits that many people practice without realizing the impact they have on their spine health. Some of the most common habits include:

Poor posture

Poor posture is one of the most common bad habits people of all ages are guilty of in the age of computers and other electronic devices.

Bending over your phone or desk all day forces your spine into a bad position and puts unnecessary pressure on your vertebrae. If you don’t soon change your habits, your poor posture can actually result in permanent changes in the anatomy of your spine.

Become more aware of how you sit. Put both feet on the floor and keep your back straight. Take frequent breaks from sitting to reduce the pressure on your spine and your risk for chronic pain.

Inadequate exercise

Exercise is essential for good overall health and is especially important for preserving your spine health. There are a variety of exercises that strengthen your back and support good posture, including swimming and walking.

You can also strengthen your core with yoga and Pilates exercises to provide more stability in your spine and reduce your risk for back injuries from overuse.

Regular exercise is also important for helping you maintain a healthy weight, as obesity is another factor that can contribute to chronic back pain.

Improper lifting techniques

Lifting with your back instead of your needs increases the likelihood you’ll pull or tear muscles or damage a spinal disc.

Using the proper lifting techniques is important for protecting the health of your back, especially if you work in a job that involves a lot of heavy lifting. Always bend at your knees and lift with your legs, keeping the object close to your body. Be sure to keep your back straight and avoid twisting your body when lifting the object and setting it down.


Many people who smoke don’t realize the impact their habit has on their spine health. Using nicotine can narrow your blood vessels and restrict blood flow to the protective discs in your back. This can make you more susceptible to herniated discs.

Cigarette smoking can also reduce the absorption rate of calcium that your body needs for new bone growth. Without enough calcium you may be at increased risk for fractures and chronic pain associated with osteoporosis.

Lack of nutrition

In addition to a lack of calcium, you may be more likely to experience persistent spine pain if you’re not getting enough vitamin D in your diet.

Vitamin D is essential for bone health. If you’re not getting enough of it through your diet, make changes accordingly and consider taking a daily supplement.

If you want to learn more great tips for preserving your spine health or treating chronic back pain, schedule an evaluation at The Institute for Comprehensive Spine Care nearest you by phone or request an appointment through the online booking feature today. 

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