Four out of five people will experience low back pain at some point in their lives brought on by activity at work, home, or in sports. However, you can take action to prevent or minimize back pain and the disability that comes with it.
Back problems are often linked to jobs that require heavy lifting, causing excessive stress on muscles, ligaments, and the spine. But numerous factors can contribute to an ailing back, such as poor posture, age, arthritis, and simply bending or reaching for something.
Keep these guidelines in mind to fend off back pain:
- Maintain ideal body weight. People who are overweight are more likely to suffer back pain and injury, as excess weight up front can add strain to the back.
- Don’t smoke. Smoking affects the health of your bones and joints. Studies have shown that smoking reduces the blood supply to bones and that nicotine slows the production of bone-forming cells and impairs the absorption of calcium.
- Exercise regularly. Back pain sufferers’ tendency is to remain inactive to avoid causing further damage. But exercise can be effective in reducing pain and improving function, especially strengthening the back and abdominal muscles.
- Use proper technique to lift an object. As a general rule, position yourself close to the object, separate your feet shoulder-width apart, keep your back straight, bend your knees, and lift with your legs.
- Practice good posture when seated. Keep your back straight, your head and shoulders erect, and make sure that your working surface is the proper height so that you don’t have to lean forward.
- If you suffer from chronic pain, consider visiting an orthopedic physician who specializes in spine care for an evaluation. Other back-related symptoms that should be of concern and may require the attention of a physician are numbness, tingling, weakness of the arms or legs, as well as difficulty controlling the bowel and/or bladder.
- Conservative treatments can help patients overcome or cope with back problems. Physical therapy, for example, can help relieve chronic back pain when used in conjunction with other conventional treatment methods.