Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: December 3, 2015
College can be a great time in a person’s life where they dive into their passions and meet a whole new group of people, but it can be tough to grow both academically and socially if you’re plagued by back pain. From walking long distances to class to spending hours hunched over textbooks, your back can take a beating, and that can make life difficult. Today, we share some tips for preventing and alleviating back pain while you’re away at college.
Whether you’ve been dealing with scoliosis all your life or you suffered a herniated disc while playing intramural frisbee, back pain can make all aspects of college life difficult. Here are some tips to prevent and manage back pain in college.
Don’t become a couch potato just because you hurt your back. While you may have to lay off the strenuous activities like lifting weights or ultimate frisbee, controlled movement can help increase blood flow in the area and spur healthy recovery. That said, even low energy activities can do damage to your pack if you overdo it, so be smart about your daily schedule. If you’re a half-mile from your next class, ask a classmate or friend for a ride. Know your body’s limit, but don’t just sit on the couch.
If you have back pain, you know how staying in one position too long can lead to discomfort. If you don’t have back pain, you may start to notice problems if you hunch over a textbook for three hours straight. Be cognizant of your posture when studying or while you’re in class, and be sure to get up and stretch your back every 30-45 minutes. Chairs in the lecture halls are often uncomfortable, and plan ahead if you know you’re going to need to stretch during class or an exam. Let your professor know that you may need to stand up and stretch during the lecture, and try to pick a spot in the back so you’re not a distraction to other students.
Get Enough Sleep
We know that this is easier said than done in college, but sleep is vital to your overall health. Sleep is a restorative process that allows your mind and your body to heal from the day’s events, so try to cut back on the all-nighters. Sleeping can help control spinal inflammation and provide relief for overworked back muscles.
Mind Your Backpack
More than 5,400 children were taken to the emergency department in 2013 with back-related pain, and college students are also at risk. Backpacks can cause problems in children because their spines are still developing, but college students often carry much heavier loads. Textbooks, laptops and other essentials can quickly add up, and all of a sudden your little backpack is a 40-pound burden on your spine. Try to minimize the strain on your back when possible, and make sure the backpack fits snugly on both shoulders. Satchels and one-strap backpacks put abnormal strain on just one area of your body instead of evenly distributing the load.
Visit a Real Back Specialist
Campus health services are great resources, but if your back pain is lingering or chronic, you will probably benefit from visiting a certified back specialist. They can diagnose any underlying issues and set you up with a rehab plan that will fix your pain once and for all. We know the prospect of visiting a doctor while in college can be scary, especially if you’re on a tight budget, but at the end of the day, if the condition is affecting your quality of life or your grades, it’s well worth the visit with a specialist.