Lower back pain is one of the most common health complaints. Four out of five adults will experience it during their lifetime. No matter if you are at work or play, there are steps you can take to prevent it from leaving you flat on your back.
LUKE SMITH, PT, DPT,
Edward Rehab Services
Lift carefully and correctly
- When picking up something light off the floor, such as a piece of paper, lean over and slightly bend one knee, while extending the other. Hold on to a chair or table for support.
- When lifting something heavy, get close to it, bend your knees and use your leg muscles to lift.
- When carrying heavy objects, don't twist your body. If you have to move it to one side, point your toes toward where you want to go and pivot. Keep the object close to your body.
Strengthen your muscles
- Exercise regularly to keep your back and other muscles strong and flexible.
- Strong hips and thighs keep your pelvic bones aligned.
- A strong abdomen works together with your back muscles to support and strengthen your spine.
Practice good posture
- Slouching puts pressure on your back. When standing or sitting, practice good posture.
- Keep your back in a natural, slightly arched position when seated and use a chair that supports your lower back.
- Make sure your workstation fits you so that you don't have to crane or lean to use it.
"If you sit for long periods of time, stand up occasionally and stretch your back," says Luke Smith, PT, DPT, CSCS, Supervisor, Edward Rehabilitation Services. "One way to do this is by placing your hands on your lower back and gently arching."
Stay healthy and positive
- Being overweight can put pressure and stress on your back. Losing even a few pounds can make your back feel better.
- Don't smoke as it can reduce the amount of oxygen in your spinal tissue, which can keep spinal injuries from healing properly.
- People who are unhappy with work or home life have more problems with their back and take longer to heal than those who are more positive.
For more information, visit www.edward.org/spinecenter.