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Every Woman

Back pain? It might be caused by your bra…

Millions of women suffer from back pain, and some conditions like osteoporosis and fibromyalgia are more common in women than men as a result of aging and other factors. Women can reduce their back pain by making a few adjustments to their wardrobe or paying closer attention to posture. Deborah Riczo, PT, DPT, MEd, of the MetroHealth Spine Center, offers a few tips women can follow to help ease the pain:
Women can reduce their back pain by making a few adjustments to their wardrobe or paying closer attention to posture.

Look at the type of shoes you are wearing.
They should have a good arch support and cushion to absorb shock that can travel from your feet up to your back. Avoid wearing flip flops or high heels and walking barefoot or in just socks if you are having back pain.

Wear a supportive bra (no stretchy thin straps).
This is especially important if you have large breasts and are already experiencing back pain. Good support will take the stress off your upper back and make it easier to stand with good posture.

Sit and stand so you have a natural curve in your low back.
The curves in our backs should not be too big or too small. When we slump our spine looks like a big “C,” which is not healthy for our spines. Good core muscles will help you maintain this natural curve with less effort. It will take practice to work on this. Choose a supportive chair to help you maintain good posture. Many different kinds of lumbar/back supports are available to purchase. It is a good idea to try them out so you know what is going to feel more supportive for you.

Bend your knees when picking something up from the ground, no matter how light it may be.
This reduces the stress on your low back muscles, and will actually strengthen your knees by bending them. Do not hold your breath, but exhale with the lifting. Breath-holding causes unnecessary pressure on your organs, circulation, and spine.

Mind your mattress or change how you sleep.
If you wake up in the morning with back pain that gets better as you move, think about your mattress. An old or too soft mattress can cause morning pain. You may want to have someone flip your mattress, or even try putting a board between the mattresses to make it firmer.
It also may be your sleeping position. Do not curl up tightly on your side as this rounds the lower back. Often a pillow between the knees will feel more comfortable when on your side, or a pillow under your knees when laying on your back.
If your back pain is persistent, it may be time to see a specialist. The MetroHealth Spine Center offers experts in rehabilitation, pain management as well as minimally invasive surgery.

Reprinted from the Physicians Newsletter. The MetroHealth System © 2002-2012. All Rights Reserved.

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