According to several online resources, including this article, that addressed the primary causes of back pain in women, it is clear that when it comes to chronic back pain, men and women are not equal.
“Differences in pelvic structure, hormonal factors, and the impact of pregnancy are often cited as to why women experience chronic pain.”
Non-medical reasons, such as improper lifting technique and poor posture among women, are also responsible for chronic back pain.
For example, in a study conducted among men and women employed in material handling jobs, it was determined that men and women used different lifting techniques. The women tended to use a more dangerous stoop-lift, with their torso more bent and their knees less bent than the men and this resulted in a greater number of back injuries among the female workers.
It is clear that women have unique challenges for avoiding back pain and injuries. However, these can be met with gender-specific, back-health strategies.
Seven Ways for Women to Avoid Back Pain
According to Dr. Bosita, an orthopedic spine surgeon in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and a member of the Texas Health Spine and Orthopedic Center referral line, there are 7 things that women can do to relieve back pain. Here are his tips:
#1 Stop smoking
Many experts have noted that, in addition to being a nasty habit, smoking can also cause back pain. Why? Nicotine restricts blood flow to the disks in the spine. This can cause them to dry out, crack, or rupture. Smoking also reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood, which causes a reduction in nourishment to the entire body and specifically to the muscles and tendons in the back.
#2 Avoid heavy lifting
As the study noted above suggests, improper lifting is a common cause of back pain. However, even lifting relatively light objects can still cause back strain and pain. Carrying a child or even a bag of groceries can lead to muscle strain. It’s important to bend at the knees when picking up an object, try to carry less weight and make sure it is evenly distributed.
#3 It’s gotta be the shoes…right?
Fashionable high-heeled shoes may look great, but they can wreak havoc on a woman’s back. Wearing comfortable, low-heeled shoes can reduce back strain when standing and walking. Shoes with heels that are less than one-inch are optimal for preventing back pain.
#4 Stand up straight
Many women have bad posture and this can cause back pain. There is even a term – mom posture – that is associated with moms who, at the end of a long day of picking up children and everything else that ends up on the floor, are slumping forward. Bad posture puts strain and stress on your back and can change the architecture of your spine. Try to avoid rounding your shoulders, slouching, or bending sideways when standing and hunching over a computer for hours at a time.
#5 Load up on calcium, vitamin D, and barbells
Post-menopausal women are extremely susceptible to osteoporosis and this weakening of bones can cause back pain and, in some cases, bone fractures. Consuming more calcium, (found in milk, yogurt, leafy vegetables, and supplements), and vitamin D (found in fish, eggs, cheese and beef liver) will help build stronger bones. Weight training will also help build bone strength and help women avoid the pain of osteoporosis.
#6 Add another pillow
Sleeping on one’s back puts pressure on the spine, and this can cause back pain. Elevating the legs slightly by placing a pillow under the knees can relieve the pressure and reduce the likelihood of back pain.
#7 Strengthen the core
Women who exercise regularly, with emphasis on strength training of the core muscles can have fewer muscle strains and back pain than those who don’t. It’s a good idea to incorporate exercises that target the back and abdominal muscles at least two times per week to develop a stronger, more flexible back.
If you have experienced back pain that lasts for more than two weeks, contact us for an appointment with a physician who is a member of the referral line. When you’re experiencing less pain, you can fall in love with your body again.
Physicians who are members of the referral program practice independently and are not employees or agents of THSOC.