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Ten Tips to Avoid Back Pain

by Jane Hodgson 3 March 2009


At least one in four of us will suffer from back pain at some point in our lives. Follow these simple tips to minimise your chance of adding to that statistic.

1. Exercise

Research shows a clear link; people who take regular exercise have a lower incidence of back pain.

2. Bend those knees

When picking items up from the floor don’t stoop down, bend your knees and keep your back straight.

3. Avoid lifting and carrying wherever possible

The healthiest method of lifting for your spine is not to do it at all. Use a mechanical aid, split large loads into smaller ones. When you do have to lift bend your knees and keep your back straight. Keep the object to be lifted close into your body.

4. Sleep

Get the best mattress you can, after all you spend hours a night lying on it. Remember even the best quality sprung mattress has a finite lifespan. If it is starting to look saggy then it's time to replace it.

5. Don’t smoke

Smoking increases lumbar disc degeneration and slows healing.

6. Pace yourself

Many back injuries happen through overuse. Don’t for instance dig the whole garden in one day, set yourself a realistic daily target and stick to it.

7. Switch carrying bags from one shoulder to the other

Reduce the weight of your bag and switch it from shoulder to shoulder, better still use a backpack. If you carry a child on your hip make sure you don’t always sit him on the same side.

8. Keep your core stability muscles strong

The core stability muscles are the ones that support the spine, work your pelvic floor and lower abdominal muscles.

9. Posture

Watch the way you sit and stand. Sitting in a slouched position for a long period of time isn't good for the discs in the spine.

10. Ergonomics

Have a look at the way your workstation is set up. The physiobench article Computer work can be such a pain should help you with this.

Disclaimer: The information on this page is written to help you understand your injury. There are many possible causes for back pain and should you have any concerns you should always seek advice from a qualified health professional such as a Chartered Physiotherapist or your GP.

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About the author

Jane Hodgson - Chartered Physiotherapist Jane Hodgson Jane specialises in lower body injuries and has raced competitively in running, orienteering and adventure racing.

Did you know

An X-ray only shows bones, not soft tissues like muscles and ligaments. For determining the recent onset back pain, an X- ray isn't that helpful.

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