Gen Z & Back Pain – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi

Young woman suffering from back pain in office

Back pain is oftentimes touted as a problem that only affects older individuals, and while it’s true that it’s predominantly a problem for people over the age of 50, what we do in our youth can absolutely affect our spine health later in life. While many from Generation Z (born after 1996) are not currently dealing with back pain, some of the habits they are developing will certainly impact their spine health down the road, for the good and for the bad. In today’s blog, we explore some of the ways Gen Z are developing healthy spine habits, and which trends should be kicked to the curb if they want their spine to be healthy come retirement age.

Gen Z Healthy Back Habits

We understand that we’ll be making some general assumptions in this piece that certainly doesn’t characterize every single person born after 1996, just like not every millennial eats avocado toast for breakfast. That said, many of the following trends and lifestyle choices can speak broadly to a younger audience, and we want them to be mindful of the good and bad habits that may be more common among their peers. With that said, here are some of the good things that Gen Zers are doing for their spine.

  • They Are Active – Gen Z sees themselves as doers, and they certainly seem more active than previous generations. Exercise and activity helps to strengthen your spine and ensure it can handle all the stress you’ll throw at it down the road. These active habits are great for your spine and your whole body health now and in the future.
  • Food Choices – Gen Z also seems to be a little more conscious about what they put in their body, and that’s wonderful. Being overweight or obese will put an immense amount of repetitive strain on your spine, which can lead to faster spinal degeneration. Keep making healthy food choices now and in the future to avoid speeding up that natural spinal degeneration.
  • Financially Focused – All generations want to make smart financial decisions, but a dollar simply doesn’t go as far as it used to, so Gen Zers really want to ensure they do what they can to save and spend money wisely. Oftentimes, you can save money by treating back problems and other health issues in their infancy instead of letting them snowball into a major issue. A little money and effort put towards fixing a minor back issue can save you a boatload in costs down the road. Gen Zers understand this better than most.

Unhealthy Gen Z Back Habits

On the flip side, here are some habits and lifestyle choices that can cause problems for their spine health.

  • Phone Use – Listen, we know that your 52-year-old mother may be on Facebook all day, but the fact of the matter is that most Gen Zers rely heavily on their phone to help with all sorts of tasks. All of this time spent looking down at their phone can weigh heavily on their cervical spine. Be mindful of your reliance on technology and how it can impact your posture.
  • Sleep Habits – Whether it’s because they work odd hours or are burning the midnight oil while studying for exams, younger individuals tend to have less regular sleep hours than older people, and that can wreak havoc on your spine. Sleep is supposed to be a restorative process for your body, brain and back, and if you’re not getting enough quality sleep, back pain can develop and linger. Strive to make it a point to get at least seven hours of continuous sleep each night.
  • Working Remote – Gen Z is more likely to work in a hybrid or work from home environment, and while that can cut down on greenhouse gas emissions and save time on a commute, working from home can also be hard on your back. If you’re not in a quality computer chair or your work while slumped into a couch, this can put an immense amount of strain on your spine over the years. Make it a point to fix your posture and move around at regular intervals if you’re working from home.

For more information about some of the trends that could impact the spine health of the next generation, or to talk to a specialist about your back pain, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi and the team at The Midwest Spine & Brain Institute today at (651) 430-3800.

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