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Reducing Your Risk of Low Back Pain and Sciatica
- Support your back when lifting, standing, and sitting.
- Practice good posture.
- Lose weight if you are overweight.
- Exercise regularly.
- If you smoke, quit.
- Manage stress.
- Do not lift heavy objects alone.
- Plan ahead and ask for assistance with lifting or moving heavy objects.
- When lifting, squat down next to the object, hold the object close to your chest, maintain a straight back, and use your leg muscles to slowly rise.
- Avoid excessive, prolonged, or forceful bending or twisting of your back.
- Avoid sitting for long periods. When you do sit, choose seats with good lumbar support, and use a footstool to raise your knees to hip level. You may be able to use a standing desk at intervals, to help avoid prolonged sitting.
- Avoid standing for long periods. If you need to stand, place a low footstool in front of you and alternate placing each foot on it for a period of time. This will take some of the load off your back.
- Do not drive for long periods. Take a break every hour to stop, get out of the car, and stretch your back.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Stress management classes
- Relaxation techniques
- Breathing exercises
Conn's Current Therapy 2001. 53rd edition. W.B. Saunders Company; 2001.
Freedman MK, Saulino MF, et al. Interventions in chronic pain management. 5. Approaches to medication and lifestyle in chronic pain syndromes. Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. 89(3 Suppl 1):S56-60, 2008 Mar.
Leboeuf-Yde C. Body weight and low back pain. A systematic literature review of 56 journal articles reporting on 65 epidemiologic studies. Spine. 25(2):226-37, 2000 Jan 15.
Pain. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/chronic%5Fpain/detail%5Fchronic%5Fpain.htm#Spine. Accessed October 27, 2008.
Textbook of Primary Care Medicine. 3rd edition. Mosby, Inc.; 2001.
2008 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Report. USDA website. Available at: http://www.health.gov/paguidelines. Accessed October 26, 2008.
- Reviewer: Rimas Lukas, MD
- Review Date: 09/2012
- Update Date: 09/26/2012