Do you ever have an ache or a pain, and you have no idea why it hurts? I remember thinking it was funny when parents would complain that it hurt just to get out of bed in the morning, or that they were sore from riding in the car.
But lately, I’ve been thinking I must be getting old. I have noticed some weird pains that have suddenly cropped up. After doing some research, I’ve found that our environment and the things we do on a daily basis may be responsible for our aches and pains.
Here are 15 surprising reasons why you could be in pain:
Purses and wallets
Your purse could be making your neck and shoulder sore. The same goes for carrying a laptop bag, or even a backpack on one shoulder. Carrying your purse or bag in your hand still puts stress on your forearm and can contribute to tennis elbow. If you’re carrying a heavy purse or bag, consider using a cross body strap. Also try to lighten the load as much as possible.
If you carry a wallet in your back pocket, it can cause pain in your back and even your butt by irritating your sciatic nerve when you sit on it. A fat wallet can also put your spine slightly out of alignment. Take your wallet out of your pocket before sitting, especially for a long period of time.
When I drive, I often find myself slouched forward with a death grip on the steering wheel. I am typically running late and drive like I’m in the Indy 500. Pulling your head forward, slouching and tensing up your arms can cause head, neck and back pain. Sitting at an angle in your seat can also cause back and leg pain. To minimize pain, sit up straight in the seat with your head against the headrest and arms relaxed.
If you wake up with a dull headache or aching jaw, you may be grinding or clenching your teeth while you sleep. Over time, you can damage your teeth, jaw and even your hearing. If you think you’re grinding your teeth when you sleep, see your dentist about wearing a mouth guard at night.
Your phone can be causing you pain. More and more people are experiencing arthritis at the base of the thumb, and it may be from texting. In addition, you probably play games and surf the web on your mobile phone. All of these activities can lead to thumb and wrist pain.
Holding the phone between your ear and shoulder while you perform other tasks, like pushing a shopping cart or typing on the computer, can also cause neck, head and shoulder pain. So, give the texting a rest and use the speaker or bluetooth when talking for a long period of time.
Certain foods can give you a headache. For instance, I have a friend who gets migraines from eating cheeses with high amounts of tyramine. This headache trigger is also found in some processed meats and beverages. If you notice reoccurring headaches, keep a food diary to see if you can spot a pattern.
If you spend many hours a day at a computer, you can be at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome, which causes pain or numbness in the hands and wrists. Poor posture and slouching can also put strain on your back and neck. Use an ergonomic keyboard or tilt your keyboard to keep your hands in line with your forearms. Adjust your monitor so that it’s at eye level. And as Mom always told you “Sit up straight” with your feet on the floor.
I love shoes. Any and all shoes – but especially inexpensive shoes. If they are cheap, I can buy more shoes! I broke my foot a few years ago. I can no longer wear cheap shoes without my foot hurting. Our feet need arch support so that our ankles, knees and hips are all in alignment. If you wear flip-flops or shoes with no support, you may experience pain from your feet clear up to your back. Wear shoes with good support. When you’re going to walk all day, go with a supportive pair of walking shoes.
Perfumes, candles or incense
I learned at an early age that I can’t wear strong perfumes. I love perfume but have found that it gives me a headache. I am also sensitive to many chemical smells, such as paints, stains, smoke and strong cleaners. I love to burn candles in the house, but you guessed it, I get a headache. Identify any smells that could trigger headaches and avoid them.
You may wake stiff and sore in the morning. It may be your sleep posture. Lying on your stomach can twist your neck. Sleeping on your side with an arm thrown over your head may strain your shoulder. It’s best to sleep on your back. However, if you still prefer to sleep on your side, keep your arms below your shoulder level. You can even stick a small pillow between your knees to support your lower back.
I discovered a few years ago that a tight pony tail was giving me head and neck pain. I also had long hair which was adding to the weight pulling on the back of my head. In addition, a tight headband, bun or braids can also trigger head pain. Even a tight hat may make your head hurt. Go with looser hairstyles and a comfortable hat.
Skipping a meal
When you skip a meal, your blood sugar can dip. Your head may start to hurt before you even realize you’re hungry. Try to eat nutritious foods at regular intervals throughout the day. You can even add a healthy snack between meals so that you keep your blood sugar and metabolism steady all day.
Spending a long period of time reading a book or staring at your computer, tablet or phone can cause eyestrain. You may experience pain in your eyes or in your head behind your brow. In addition, uncorrected vision problems can also contribute to eyestrain. Have your vision checked once a year and take breaks at least every hour if you are reading or working on the computer.
It’s the weekend and the weather is beautiful. You may decide to do yard work or take up a new sport. Your body may not be ready for this sudden activity. You can find yourself achy and sore on Monday. Take on new activities gradually on the weekends, or do some extra stretching and exercises during the week to prepare for the weekend activity.
On the other hand, you may decide to relax on the weekends, lying on the couch and taking in a movie marathon, catching up on your recorded shows or watching sports. You can strain your neck and back by holding your head in an awkward position or falling asleep that way. Make sure you have good posture even when you’re hanging out on the couch.
Stress can add to your aches and pains. You may tense up your neck and back when you’re anxious. You may get headaches from this tension. You might also clench your jaw when you are under stress. Try some relaxation techniques to bring down your stress level and tension.
The next time you’re in pain take a closer look at your environment and the things you do on a daily basis. You may find a really simple cause for your pain that you can easily fix. Have you ever discovered a surprising reason for your pain?