Thoracic back pain is not a disease; it is a symptom of lifestyle. Many of us are spending more and more time sitting down, whether in cars or in chairs which are no ergonomic and sleeping in beds not suited to our individual needs. This can lead to poor posture which puts excess strain on our spine that can deteriorate over the years.
At some point in our lives, almost all of us will feel the symptoms of back pain, but precautions can be taken. These are the most common causes of thoracic back pain:
1) Poor Posture
Poor posture is the leading cause of back pain. Over time the stresses on the spine due to poor posture will result in the degeneration of joints and discs, it can also lead to chronic headaches!
When standing, your feet should be shoulder width apart, chest out, stomach in, and the chin should be level. Looking down can cause your shoulders to slump, throwing your spine into a curve.
When sitting, the soles of both feet should be on the floor, arms should be relaxed, sit in the back of the chair not towards the front, chest should be held up, with the chin again in a level position.
2) Repetitive motions or overuse
Of course manual labor is one of the main causes of thoracic back pain. But there are many less obvious causes that you may not realize are having serious effects on your spine.
a) Sitting for extended periods of time.
Follow the proper posture guidelines and make sure to take frequent breaks to stand up and stretch and have a walk about. Even if this is for 2 minutes every hour, you will notice a difference.
b) A long commute to and from work.
Keep your seat in its proper upright position, too many people have their seats slid too far back or inclined too far back. You were told in driver’s education to keep your hands at 10:00 and 2:00, but on long drives this will strain your muscles. For half of your drive, hold the wheel at 8:00 and 4:00, resting your forearms on your knees.
c) Talking on the phone often.
Get a hands free device or headset. Holding a phone between your shoulder and neck for even short periods of time can throw your spine out of balance. This awkward position causes you to reach and often times over extend yourself.
Another of the main causes of thoracic back pain is sleeping. Sleeping is instinctual and natural; most people are never taught the “proper” way to sleep. However, there are certain dos and don’ts for those wishing to learn the proper sleeping habits.
Maintain a proper sleeping position. If you sleep on your side, use a body pillow to place between your legs. This will keep your leg from bending too far over, causing your spine to stretch awkwardly while you sleep. If you sleep on your back, use only one pillow, one that keeps your neck and spine in a neutral position.
And most of all get rid of your sagging mattress and buy a firm one! This is the easiest way to ease back pain. Remember, you’ll spend 1/3 of your life here, so it makes for a wise investment.
Written By: Updated: June 27,2011