Do you have back pain, a slouched posture or a hunched back? Then you are not alone. According to estimates, around 60-80% of all Germans suffer from back pain at some point in their lives.
Among working people alone, this figure was 75% in 2016, an increase of 20% in the last 10 years. The causes are varied and range from too little exercise to incorrect posture or an unfavorable sleeping position.
The range of back pain is wider than for almost any other condition. It can be mild pain that goes away on its own or even lead to an inability to move.
It is therefore particularly important to counteract back pain at an early stage in order to avoid long-term damage. In the following article, we would like to provide you with brief and concise information on the subject of back pain, causes and ways to prevent back pain.
Back pain - facts and figures
Back pain has long since ceased to be a phenomenon that only affects older people of retirement age. On the contrary, back pain is the number one widespread disease in Germany, both in adults and even in children.
Did you know that the second most common reason for sick leave is now due to back pain and spinal disorders? This is not only an enormous burden for patients, but also for healthcare systems, employers and pension funds.
Calculations have shown that the costs caused by back pain in Germany alone amount to around 48.9 billion euros per year. In fact, back pain is the most common cause of incapacity for work in men and the second most common in women.
Surveys by health insurance companies and the Robert Koch Institute have shown that 60-80% of all Germans have struggled with back pain at some time. Of these, around 50-70% between the ages of 18 and 70 stated that they had been explicitly affected by it in the last 12 months. In as many as 18% of this group, the back pain persisted for at least three months.
Crooked posture, hunched back or sleeping position? These are the causes of back pain!
The causes of back pain are varied and can be found in many different areas.
One of the most common causes of back pain is muscle tension. These muscle tensions can also have different causes. Incorrect posture is particularly crucial.
People who spend a lot of time in a sitting position, for example in the office or in front of a computer, will be particularly familiar with the problem of slouching. You often sit bent forward and automatically pull your shoulders upwards.
As the muscles shorten in the long term, this naturally leads to poor posture and back pain in the long term, often resulting in a hunched back, also known as a widow's hump. This is a curvature of the upper spine.
A lack of exercise is another factor that ultimately leads to back pain and spinal disorders. But the opposite, namely overloading, can also cause problems. Overloading often occurs in competitive athletes, through incorrect training and in people with heavy physical work. Another factor that leads to back problems is being overweight.
Stress as a cause of back problems
Have you heard the saying „The back is the mirror of the soul“?
In fact, this saying is not entirely wrong. Mental stress, anxiety, conflicts or family burdens are also one of the main reasons for back problems and pain. Those who are constantly under stress, suffer from financial hardship and strain, are unhappy or dissatisfied are unfortunately much more likely to suffer from back pain, as these and many other strains lead to massive muscle tension in the back and neck area.
In the long term, this muscle tension then leads to back pain, a hunched back and other problems with the spine. You often find yourself in a vicious circle, as the back pain is just another strain, which further increases the muscle tension. In such cases, holistic therapy that focuses on both the physical and psychological areas is usually helpful.
What influence does the sleeping position have on back pain?
On average, we sleep seven to nine hours a day. However, very few people know that our sleeping position, mattress and pillow also have an enormous influence on our back and can prevent or even trigger or worsen back pain.
First of all, back pain caused by an unfavorable sleeping position or the wrong mattress and pillow combination is usually due to the resulting muscle tension.
The prone position is rather unfavorable for the back, as it quickly leads to hyperextension of the cervical spine. This leads to tension and pain in the neck area.
The supine position is probably the best sleeping position from an ergonomic point of view, as it most closely resembles an upright position. In contrast to the lateral position, however, the spine is curved in an S-shape in the supine position, whereas it is straight in the lateral position.
However, the lateral position is often uncomfortable for the shoulders, especially when lying down for long periods. It is therefore best to alternate between the supine and lateral positions at regular intervals.
Mattress and pillow are crucial
To improve your posture, you should also think about the right mattress and pillow, because the right sleeping position has a huge impact on our back health.
The mattress and pillow must be adapted to the person's height and weight.
There are also special pillows for side sleepers and back sleepers. The flexpillow is the first pillow that is equally suitable for back and side sleepers, making regular changes of sleeping position child's play.
Thanks to the unusual pillow shape, you can sleep on your back without a pillow and on your side with a pillow. And there really is nothing easier than using the right position and the perfect pillow and mattress to prevent back pain.
What can you do about back pain?
Unfortunately, there is no patent remedy for back pain, as the cause of the pain must first be determined. However, there are some measures you can take to prevent back pain or improve it if you are already suffering from it.
An important tip against back pain is to keep moving. Long periods of bed rest in particular are a hindrance to back pain. Go for a walk, do special back training or sport and try to avoid a relieving posture despite the pain.
If you work in a sitting position a lot, you should definitely work on your posture. There are special back schools or products that help you to improve your posture and thus prevent a hunched back and the associated back pain.
As being overweight can also be a problem, try to reduce your weight. This can also be achieved through a combination of sport and exercise.