Back Problems and Injuries
Back Problems and Injuries
There is no clear evidence that you can
back pain. But there are some things you can do that may help prevent it. And they can prepare you for faster recovery if you
do have back pain.
- Exercise to keep your back healthy and strong.
Exercise programs that include aerobic conditioning and strengthening exercises
can help keep low back pain from coming back. For more information, see
Pelvic Tilt Exercise .
- Fitness: Increasing Core Stability.
- Low Back Pain: Exercises to Reduce Pain.
- Learn how to lift objects safely to protect your
- Back Problems: Proper Lifting.
- Protect your back while sitting.
Standing posture is also important. For most people, good posture means that when you stand, your ears, shoulders, hips,
and knees should be in line with one another.
- Try different sleeping positions that protect your back. If you sleep on your side, try putting
a pillow between your knees. If you sleep on your back, use a pillow under your
knees. You can also try rolling up a small towel and using it to support your
- Practice good posture and body mechanics.
- Wear low-heeled shoes.
- Stay at a healthy
weight to avoid excess strain on your lower back. For more information, see the
- If you're a smoker,
quit. Smoking increases your risk of bone loss (osteoporosis)
and increases your sensitivity to pain. Smoking also interferes with blood
circulation by tightening the arteries, which makes it harder for blood to
flow, and by decreasing the amount of oxygen the red blood cells can carry.
Spinal discs don't have their own blood supply, but they receive nutrition in part
from the blood supply to the vertebral bones above and below them. Decreased
circulation may increase the speed of degeneration and/or slow the healing of
the discs. For more information on how to quit, see the topic
- Eat a
healthy diet. Getting plenty of
vitamin D may help prevent osteoporosis, which can
compression fractures and low back
- Manage the stress in your life, both at home and at
Exercises to avoid
Some exercises actually increase
the chances of causing of low back pain. Avoid:
- Straight-leg sit-ups.
sit-ups during acute back pain (may be safe if back is kept in neutral
- Leg lifts (lifting both legs while lying on your
- Lifting heavy weights above the waist (military press or
biceps curls while standing).
- Any stretching done while sitting
with the legs in a V position.
- Toe touches while standing.
Work comfort and design
Most back problems that occur
in the workplace are caused by physical stress, such as being in an awkward
position for a long time, making the same motions over and over, and simply
using your back too much. These injuries can cause stress and strain on
muscles, nerves, tendons, joints, blood vessels, or spinal discs.
Arrange your work to help prevent work-related injuries. It is important
to position yourself so that you can sit comfortably and minimize stress on any
one area of your body. Change your positions and tasks as often as possible,
and match tools to your size and preferences. If you are doing a job or task
that requires you to sit for long periods, get up and stretch and move around
at least once an hour.
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
November 19, 2012
©1995-2012, Healthwise, Incorporated, P.O. Box 1989, Boise, ID 83701.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
For more information,
How this information was developed.