Stop Back Pain Before It Starts
Back pain affects about eight out of 10 people at some point in their lives. You’re more likely to suffer disabling back pain if you answer “yes” to any of these questions:
- Do you regularly bend and lift with your body in a twisted position?
- Are you overweight?
- Do you get too little exercise?
- Do you smoke?
To keep your back happy, mind your posture, your lifting technique, and your exercise routine.
Standing, Sitting, and Sleeping Strategies
- When you stand, keep your ears, shoulders, and hips in a straight line. Avoid slouching by holding up your head and pulling in your stomach.
- When you sit, rest your feet on a low stool. Switch positions often, and take frequent walking breaks.
- Choose a sleeping position that keeps your back straight. A good position is on your back with a pillow under your knees. To alternate, lie on your side with your knees bent.
Reduce the Heavy Risks of Lifting
If something is too heavy or awkward to lift, ask for help. When you lift, follow these guidelines:
- Face whatever you are lifting to avoid twisting.
- Place your feet a shoulder width apart to widen your base of support.
- Bend your knees and tighten your stomach muscles.
- Lift a heavy load close to your body.
Exercise Plays an Active Role in Prevention
Several different types of exercise may help prevent back injury and pain. To gently stretch your back muscles, for example, lie on your back with your knees bent. As you press your lower back against the floor, slowly lift your left knee to your chest. Hold for five seconds. Then relax your left knee and do the same thing with your right knee. Do 10 sets of this exercise.
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