Did you know that simple day to day activities such as driving, the position you assume while watching TV or driving and how you carry your handbag can cause you bodily damage?
Doctors say the only health condition that more than one billion people in the world share — including you and me — is pain.
Whether it’s back pain, migraine or neck pain, chronic pain — the one that nags you for weeks, months, or years — can change the quality of your life. Never ignore pain whatever the intensity — mild, moderate or severe — as treatment usually can help.
However, to stop a molehill from becoming a mountain, pain management experts on webmd.com identify some daily habits that could be causing pain.
The Medical Director, Cleveland Clinic in Florida, United States of America, Dr. David Westerdahl, says often, the blame for our pain rests on the simple choices we make every day.
One of them is strong odours. Doctors aren’t sure why, but strong smells like paint and smoke can trigger migraines and headaches .They note that even pleasant smells like perfumes and deodorants can also set off headaches in some persons. To stop this, identify which smells spark your headaches and try to avoid them.
Another tricky one is your driving position. Many people set their car seats at the wrong angle. If the seat is reclined, you may slouch forward to grip the steering wheel. This pulls your head away from the head rest and can cause neck pain.
The adjustable buttons on your seats are there for a purpose. Put your car seat in an upright position that supports your head and lower back. The steering wheel should be within easy reach, so your arms are slightly flexed and relaxed.
If you carry your laptop around like an extra limb, you are likely to strain some part of the body. Handheld laptop cases put stress on the forearm and can actually give you tennis elbow. Also, bags that you wear over one shoulder can contribute to back and shoulder pain.
Try a rolling laptop case or consider switching to a lighter model. Or just strap your bag to your back so the weight is evenly distributed.
Here are other habits that may be causing you pain and the solutions:
Sleep position: If you wake up sore most mornings, take a good look at your sleep posture. Stomach sleepers may twist their necks to the point of hyperextension. Other people sleep on their sides with one arm overhead. After many hours, this position can strain the shoulder.
Solution: Better ways to sleep are on your back or on your side, with your arms below shoulder level. Side sleepers can place a pillow between the knees to support the lower back. Back sleepers can put a pillow under the neck and beneath their knees.
Smart phones: Do you have a phone that lets you text, surf the web, and play games? That’s a lot of mileage for your thumbs. Doctors have begun reporting cases of arthritis at the base of the thumb in younger people, possibly related to texting.
Solution: When your thumbs begin to ache, give the texting a rest. If pain continues, use your phone to make an actual call to a doctor. There are effective treatments for arthritis.
Wallet: Your wallet can be a real pain in the back and the buttocks, and it can even lead to shooting pains down one leg. Tucked in a back pocket, it may lead to compression and irritation of the sciatic nerve day after day. A fat wallet may also put the spine slightly out of alignment, causing muscle tension.
Solution: Remove your wallet before sitting, especially in the car.
Couch potato syndrome: Even downtime can be a source of aches and pains. Do you often lie across the couch with your head turned toward the television? You’re setting yourself up for a sore neck, especially if you fall asleep in that position.
Solution: Maintain good posture even when you’re relaxing. Sit up straight on your couch and make sure your TV is not positioned too high.
Hairdo: Westerdahl says your hairstyle could trigger headaches. A tight ponytail may trigger — or worsen — a headache. Some migraine sufferers are more sensitive to sensations that wouldn’t bother others, such as a tight hat, headband, bun, or braids.
Solution: Wear your hair down and skip the hat.
Video games: Video games that simulate the motions of popular sports can result in real sports injuries. Doctors say overzealous gaming can cause everything — from sprains to torn ligaments and broken bones.
Solution: Do some stretching before starting an active video game. Make sure you have plenty of space around you, so you won’t trip or crash into anything. And don’t play for longer than you would a real sport.
Beverages: When it comes to beverages, alcohol is the king of pain. Red wine, whiskey, beer, and champagne are the drinks blamed most often for a throbbing head.
Solution: Limit your intake of alcohol.
Skipping meals: Skipping meals causes your blood sugar to dip. In some people, this can trigger a massive headache before you even realise you’re hungry.
Solution: Eat nutritious foods regularly throughout the day. Opt for snacks that combine protein and whole grains, such as peanut butter on whole-wheat crackers.
Stress: Stress contributes to a vast array of aches and pains. Many people tighten the back muscles when anxious, leading to chronic back pain. Most tension headaches stem from stress. And stress may play a role in teeth grinding, leading to jaw pain.
Solution: Practise relaxation techniques, such as meditation or yoga.
Work: If you spend many hours a day at your desk or workstation, give some thought to the setup. Westerdahl notes that a poorly positioned chair can cause you to slouch forward, straining the back and neck. A monitor that’s too low or too high will also strain the neck.
Solution: Place your monitor with the top of the screen at eye level. Position your chair so that you are sitting straight with your feet on the floor. Use a cushion to support the lower back if needed.