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Top 10 Tips to Prevent Back Pain

At the doctor's office

If you’re prone to backaches, you know how frustrating it can be. Back pain can prevent you from engaging in activities you enjoy and may cause you to miss work. It can keep you awake at night and affect your mood. Back pain is one of the most common reasons people go to the doctor.

For those susceptible to back pain. here are some top tips for good habits and practices promoting spine health that can also help people avoid back pain in the first place:

  • Always pay attention to your posture and movements. Don’t slouch when you’re sitting or standing. Be mindful of the way you move, even during everyday activities such as loading the dishwasher or taking out the garbage.
  • Maintain a healthy weight or try to lose weight if necessary, as this can put stress on your back.
  • Exercise to strengthen your back. Work on your abdominal muscles, which can help support the back. Swimming is beneficial, but make sure you maintain good form.
  • When lifting heavy packages, always bend your knees and keep your back straight. Keep the object close to your body and avoid twisting at the waist. If you also have knee problems, you may want to avoid lifting heavy packages altogether.
  • Don’t engage in activities that you know will irritate your back.
  • Pace yourself when doing chores.  Don’t go on a cleaning spree or tackle extensive home improvement projects if you’re susceptible to back pain. Ask for help if you need it.
  • If you sit at a desk for hours at time, get up and take a walk or stretch  occasionally.  Get a chair with good lumber support and make sure it’s the right height. A pillow or rolled-up towel placed behind the small of the back can also provide support.
  • If you have a long drive, take breaks so you’re not sitting in the same position for hours.
  • Research shows that emotional stress or mental pain can exacerbate physical pain.
  • Be wary of exercises you find online. If they’re not geared toward your particular problem, they can make the pain worse.

Bernard Rawlins

Dr. Bernard Rawlins is a board-certified orthopedic spine surgeon with a comprehensive practice that spans the entire scope of spinal disorders from cervical (neck) spine to scoliosis in both the adult and pediatric population. With a background in engineering in addition to his medical degree, Dr. Rawlins is highly knowledgeable of the latest advances in surgical implants and techniques. His expertise has led to the development of numerous patents used in complex spine surgery.

The information provided in this blog by HSS and our affiliated physicians is for general informational and educational purposes, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual problem you may have. This information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a qualified health care provider who is familiar with the unique facts about your condition and medical history. You should always consult your health care provider prior to starting any new treatment, or terminating or changing any ongoing treatment. Every post on this blog is the opinion of the author and may not reflect the official position of HSS. Please contact us if we can be helpful in answering any questions or to arrange for a visit or consult.