Back pain is a common complaint. Four out of five people will experience low back pain at least once during their lives. It’s one of the most common reasons people go to the doctor or miss work.
On the bright side, you can prevent most back pain. If prevention fails, simple home treatment and proper body mechanics will often heal your back within a few weeks and keep it functional for the long haul. Surgery is rarely needed to treat back pain.
You may be able to avoid back pain by improving your physical condition and learning and practicing proper body mechanics.
To keep your back healthy and strong:
- Exercise. Regular low-impact aerobic activities — those that don’t strain or jolt your back — can increase strength and endurance in your back and allow your muscles to function better. Walking and swimming are good choices. Talk with your doctor about which activities are best for you.
- Build muscle strength and flexibility. Abdominal and back muscle exercises (core-strengthening exercises) help condition these muscles so that they work together like a natural corset for your back. Flexibility in your hips and upper legs aligns your pelvic bones to improve how your back feels.
- Quit smoking. Smokers have diminished oxygen levels in their spinal tissues, which can hinder the healing process.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight puts strain on your back muscles. If you’re overweight, trimming down can prevent back pain.
Use proper body mechanics:
- Stand smart. Maintain a neutral pelvic position. If you must stand for long periods of time, alternate placing your feet on a low footstool to take some of the load off your lower back.
- Sit smart. Choose a seat with good lower back support, arm rests and a swivel base. Consider placing a pillow or rolled towel in the small of your back to maintain its normal curve. Keep your knees and hips level.
- Lift smart. Let your legs do the work. Move straight up and down. Keep your back straight and bend only at the knees. Hold the load close to your body. Avoid lifting and twisting simultaneously. Find a lifting partner if the object is heavy or awkward.
This article was prepared by the Mayo Clinic and you can get further information by visiting the Mayo Clinic web Site