In the National College Health Assessment survey (2013), 13.7% of students at McMaster reported suffering from back pain in the past year! Back pain can have a variety of causes and leaves its victims with their backs up against a wall! What are the common causes of back pain and what can you do to prevent or alleviate it?
Many people tend to tilt their heads down during texting which causes poor posture. What you might not realize is that this excessive motion of leaning your head forward and down, known as the ‘text neck’, may ultimately lead to pain in the upper back!
Whether it is sitting hunched over during lectures or staring at a computer screen, slouching in poor posture causes a tightening in the chest muscles resulting in a gradual curve in the upper back. Overtime, this causes the upper back muscles to weaken and results in pain.
Overloading your backpack with heavy textbooks is a problem students face when they have consecutive classes and demanding workloads. The excessive weight can strain the back, neck and shoulders.
Improper workouts can lead to severe back injuries. If your back curves while you are lifting, you are exposed to significantly increased risks of lower back pain.
During texting, computer use or while seated, try to roll your shoulders back and keep your ears over them. This will avoid forward head posture and can alleviate pressure on your upper back.
You can strengthen back muscles that may be weak with simple exercises. By engaging your muscles you can increase their activation and help support your spine. Stretches can also help you relax tight muscles that can be causing pain!
Next time you’re pumping iron try to watch your back. Ask a staff member to help you with postural cues and proper technique if you are ever unsure or need a refresher.