World Spine Day is October 16th. NYC Area Spinal and Orthopedic Surgeon Available to Comment on the Worst Mistakes Americans Make That Cause Back Injuries and Pain
An estimated one billion people around the world suffer from spinal pain and is the biggest single cause of disability. With more people working from home in a non-ergonomically correct environment due to COVID, even more people are experiencing back pain. World Spine Day on October 16th highlights the burden of spinal pain and aims to promote healthy activities, exercises, or tools to combat it. (Worldspineday.org)
Dr. Gbolahan Okubadejo, is a spinal and orthopedic surgeon who leads The Institute for Comprehensive Spine Care. He shares some of the worst mistakes people make that leads to increased back/spine pain:
Not Maintaining Flexibility
Remaining flexible can help prevent injuries to the back, especially those related to some degree of muscle strain.
Don’t continue eating carbohydrates and sugar
At the root of most low back pain is inflammation. Foods that cause your blood sugar to spike will only make the pain worse because sugar promotes inflammation.
Don’t continue smoking
Smoking tobacco products is the worst mistake to make because it greatly impairs your body’s ability to heal and stay strong.
Don’t continue standing when putting on pants
Putting on pants while standing requires bending and possibly twisting, not to mention hopping on one leg. All of these motions can increase your low back pain.
Extra pounds can strain the bones and muscles in your back, especially if you gain weight quickly. Do your best to maintain a healthy weight.
Don’t continue sleeping on the same old mattress
Old mattresses have lost some of their firmness, tend not to support your curves well, and lack some of the newer technology. Your old mattress might be causing or adding to your low back pain.
You Allow Your Core to Weaken
If your core is weak, your body compensates so other muscles will help hold you up. Not surprisingly, this overarched position can lead to pain in your lower back over time—which is why lower back pain is another sign of a weak core. If your core is weak, your body compensates so other muscles will help hold you up.
Don’t continue wearing bad shoes
Your shoes provide support for your entire body, including your spine. High-heel shoes or flip-flops do not give your back support and may be contributing to your pain.
Failing to lift with your knees
One of the most common causes of back pain is failing to distribute weight evenly, which is what happens when you lift with your back only. Whether it’s lifting weight while working out or picking up a heavy box, bending and distributing some of the weight to your legs reduces pressure on your back muscles while also helping to prevent serious injuries.
You think you should rest it and “baby” your back.
Gone are the days of prolonged bed rest for back pain. Research has indicated that bed rest is one of the worst things you can do when suffering from back pain.
Your desk job is killing your back
Sitting tied to your desk for hours at a time can lead to lower back pain, the most common work-related back problem. Slumping back in your desk chair or slouching forward means your spine is out of alignment. Use a lumbar pillow for cushioning to help prevent yourself from collapsing forward or backward into poor posture.
Limit the pain meds.
Pain meds do not heal injuries. Pain meds do not strengthen weak muscles. They mask the pain despite the injury.
Using Heat Packs Prematurely
During the acute stages of an injury, the area will swell. Ice is recommended through this stage to reduce this swelling. Using heat in the acute stages of injury may increase swelling, causing more pain that can lead to an increase in muscle spasms.
About the Doctor
Gbolahan Okubadejo, MD, FAAOS, leads The Institute for Comprehensive Spine Care, with offices in the greater New York City area, as a spinal and orthopedic surgeon. Board certified and fellowship trained, Dr. Okubadejo specializes in the treatment of degenerative spinal disease, spinal deformity, and cervical, lumbar, and thoracic conditions.
Dr. Okubadejo earned his undergraduate degree at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and his medical degree at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. He completed his internship and orthopedic surgery residency at Barnes-Jewish Hospital at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Dr. Okubadejo completed a spinal surgery fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pittsburgh.
Dr. Okubadejo is a published research author and has presented his findings at several major spinal conferences around the globe. While a surgical resident, he won the Leonard Marmor Surgical Arthritis Foundation Resident Award for the best research project.
Dr. Okubadejo believes in the power of preventive care, minimally invasive surgical procedures, open communication with patients, and personalized care. When he’s not caring for patients, he enjoys traveling, learning about different cultures and the arts, and playing golf.