Back Pain Prevention and Relief

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Elderly patient speaking with his DoctorTo recover and remain pain-free, follow the treatment plan your doctor has outlined. Make sure you have regular check-ups, and tell your doctor if you are not getting better.

Lifestyle changes are the best road to wellness. If you smoke, now is the time to stop; if you are overweight, now is the time to lose weight. Patients who smoke, are obese, or have psychological problems have more problems with recovery from surgery. Smoking in particular negatively impacts the process of fusion and healing. Take time to learn, adjust to, and adopt habits that will help you preserve your spine for years to come.

Watch our slideshow on 6 everyday bad habits that could be hurting your back and learn how to replace your bad habits—such as having poor posture—with healthy ones.

Back problems can be prevented with some simple measures:

  • Sit and stand properly
  • Exercise regularly (aerobic exercise is especially good)
  • Attain and maintain a healthy weight
  • Stop smoking
  • Eat healthy (a well-balanced, low-fat diet rich in fruits and vegetables)
  • Lift safely (see tips below)
  • Wear a seat belt
  • Use proper sports equipment

Tips to Reduce Your Risk of Back Injury When Lifting

  • Before you lift something, think carefully through how you will do it.
  • Stand close to the object, and if you’ll be placing it on a high shelf, make sure you’re also close enough to the shelf.
  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and bend your knees—instead of bending from the waist to pick up the object.
  • As you lift, draw on your core strength by tightening your stomach muscles.
  • Your leg muscles (not your back muscles) should do most of the work, so do not lock your knees as you lift.
  • To avoid twisting your body, especially while holding the object, point your toes in the direction you want to move and pivot in that direction.
  • For especially heavy objects, get help.

You can start improving your back today by using proper body mechanics. Improve your posture by eliminating a forward head position and rounded shoulders. You can also do this simple exercise: Tuck your chin back, squeeze your shoulder blades together, and link your arms behind you while squeezing your shoulder blades together. Hold for a count of five, and repeat several times a day. Exercises like this will increase mobility in your neck and back. They will align your spine, making it easier to stand properly and reducing the chance of future back pain.

Taking care of your back is a lifetime endeavor. Keep up the good work!

Updated on: 02/29/16
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Muscle Spasms are a Leading Cause of Back Pain But NOT the Primary Cause
Nicola V. Hawkinson, DNP, RN, RNFA
This article was reviewed by Nicola V. Hawkinson, RN, RNFA, NP.
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Muscle Spasms are a Leading Cause of Back Pain But NOT the Primary Cause

Back pain sometimes strikes without warning. Conditions, such as degenerative disc disease or herniated disc, may cause an acute episode of low back pain.
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