10 Tips for Preventing Back Pain

If you're experiencing back pain, or even a stiff neck, look to your lifestyle. The way you sleep, lift, and twist your body may be responsible. But preventing back pain may actually be the simplest way to deal with it. Follow these 10 tips—you'll feel better now and ward off any future problems.

Back Pain
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1

Lift Safely

Safe lifting involves using your legs to spare your back. Bend your knees, tighten your abdominal muscles, and keep the object being lifted close to your body.

It is also a good idea to be aware of unsafe lifting techniques, so that you can avoid them. Unsafe lifting techniques usually involve positions that will cause you strain when you add a load to them.

2

Minimize and Avoid Twisting Motions

The use of twisting motions should be carefully monitored and scaled back or eliminated as appropriate. When lifting heavy objects, twisting should be completely avoided.

When doing heavy work, such as housework, try to keep twisting to a minimum too. In other activities, pay close attention to how you are moving your spine as well as any warning signs, such as pain or tightness, that may indicate trouble.

Scale back on the twisting according to the warning signs your body gives you.

3

Drink Plenty of Water

Our bodies are comprised of approximately 70 percent water. Enough water keeps us fluid, rather than stiff.

Drinking plenty of water enhances the height of intervertebral disks, keeping them the healthy shock absorbers they are.

Water is necessary for nearly every bodily process, so it's good to have in generous supply—at least six to eight 8-ounce glasses per day. It is almost impossible to drink too much water.

4

Stay Active and Strengthen Your Abs

Exercise and activity keep the muscles of the spine strong. The most important muscles to strengthen to avoid back pain are the abdominals.

Include stretching in your fitness program to avoid stiffness, which causes pain. Another reason to stay flexible is that stiff muscles are a precursor to injury.

5

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Maintaining a healthy weight is generally an excellent way to prevent all kinds of diseases and discomforts. For the spine, body weight control avoids compression and loading of the intervertebral disks, prevents postural abnormalities (such as anterior pelvic tilt), and interrupts a sedentary lifestyle which can be responsible for stiff and/or weak muscles.

6

Research Sleeping Positions

Finding a sleeping position that works for you can help you avoid placing unnecessary strains on your back or neck. Doctors tend to vary when recommending ideal sleep positions. So, trusting your comfort levels and using your own judgement are good accompaniments to their advice.

7

Warm-Up When Exercising

When exercising, warm-ups are a must. Warm-up means 5-10 minutes of light aerobic activity just prior to the exercise session. Recommendations by experts vary as to whether the warm-up period should include stretching.

The purpose of a warm-up is to gradually acclimate the muscles to a more intense activity level to prevent injury, and therefore pain.

8

Cool Down

The cool down period after an exercise period must include stretching. During cool down, your muscles are still warm from exercising, so they are very receptive to stretching.

Stretching will be less painful during cool down, as well. Stretching relieves muscle tightness, which is one cause of back pain. Stretching also helps to balance the action of muscles, enhancing ideal alignment and relieving joint strain.

9

Interrupt Long Periods of Sitting

If you sit for long periods of time, force yourself to get up from your chair as much as your work environment will permit. Sitting loads the spine and compresses the disks, leading to disk problems. Slaving over a computer for long periods of time can also cause neck and posture problems, such as kyphosis.

10

Try a Holistic Approach

Holistic bodywork techniques and systems are a great way to keep the structures of your spine tuned up for a lifetime.Try any one of there:

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