While nearly everyone suffers from occasional lower back pain, some people have problems that continue to resurface.
While you may not be able to eliminate the pain altogether, you can decrease it by following these guidelines:
- Practice safe lifting techniques. Before you lift something, test it to make sure it is not too heavy for you. “There is no need to rush when you are lifting something — particularly if you have pain in your lower back,” says Brandon J. Scott, DO, neurosurgeon at Saint Francis Medical Center. “Be sure to bend your legs, not your waist. Keep your head in line with your back and your movements smooth and fluid, without any jerking.”
- Maintain good posture. Always sit with a straight back; do not slouch. Sit on chairs and couches with plenty of support, rather than soft, low couches. Consider tucking a rolled up towel behind your back to provide extra lumbar support. “Experiment with different kinds of cushions and positions,” says Scott. “You might be surprised at how much this can reduce your pain.”
- Stay active. Sometimes it may hurt to exercise. But it is critical that you maintain an exercise program that includes both low-impact aerobics and strength training. “When you work on your core strength, you are supporting your spine,” says Scott. “Without exercise, you will eventually become weaker and weaker, which only increases your pain.” If it hurts too much to walk for 30 minutes, start with five minutes, then slowly increase the amount of time as it becomes easier.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Extra weight puts additional stress on the muscles and spine, which contributes to lower back pain.
- Consider physical therapy. A physical therapist can teach you proper ways to move and exercises that can strengthen your core.
- Use hot packs. Apply heat for 15 to 20 minutes at a time.
For more information, call 573-331-3000.