How to Prevent Back Pain
Given that 8 in 10 American adults experience back pain on a regular basis, we know how important back pain prevention is. Relieving back pain is sometimes an even higher priority. Luckily, there are easy steps you can take on a daily basis to help you do both—prevent AND relieve your back pain.
Maintaining an active lifestyle is a great way to improve your core strength and overall fitness level; two important elements in avoiding straining or injuring your back.
Low-impact aerobic activities like walking and swimming can help you build stamina. You might also consider spending some time doing crunches—dedicated work on your abs and lower back can help you build core strength to sit and stand correctly. Lastly, yoga is another great low-impact way to exercise because it promotes flexibility as well as gentle stretching, two essential elements in a holistic back pain prevention regimen.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, carrying extra weight can place additional strain on your back muscles and cause back pain. If you have been considering losing some weight, you now have one more reason to kick start a new diet and fitness regimen. It’s not easy, but your back will benefit as your health improves!
Especially in today’s sedentary culture, maintaining good posture during long hours of sitting is a crucial component of back pain prevention.
While seated, you should place both feet flat on the floor and your knees should be slightly lower than your hip height. If you have to sit in a chair without adequate lumbar support, a small pillow or a rolled towel can be used to provide support. Remember to take a break at least once an hour to get up and take a short walk to keep your body loose.
While standing, maintain a neutral pelvic position, with your head up and tummy pulled in. For most people, standing with healthy posture means that your ears, shoulders, hips, and knees will be in a straight line. Wear comfortable, supportive shoes and try to avoid high heels because they can throw your back out of alignment.
When lifting heavy objects, rely on your legs instead of your back. Keep your back straight and bend from your knees. Lift slowly and carefully, and avoid twisting your back as you lift.
We bet you didn’t realize this habit could have an impact on your back! Smoking actually increases your sensitivity to pain and can hasten bone loss through osteoporosis. Additionally, nicotine reduces the blood flow to the discs in your vertebrae, which can speed the degeneration of these discs and cause back pain.