Follow These Suggestions to Keep Your Back Strong and Healthy

Let me just start with the disclaimer that if you have any concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider.  I have worked with a number of people who suffer from back pain, and it is important to recognize that there are MANY different flavors.  You may have pain that shoots down one or both of your legs, it may come when you lift something or lie down, or maybe it’s just there all the time.  Many times it will change gradually, sometimes better or sometimes worse.  My point is that there is no panacea for low back pain.

What can you do to avoid back pain?

There are many things you can do to avoid or mitigate back pain.  These are some of the most common ones that I have found over the years.

  1. Stay healthy.  This may be the most obvious one, but perhaps the most critical.  Keeping your weight in control, exercising, and eating right are all a crucial part of working with back pain.  Many instances of back pain occur from a sudden increase in activity, or just trying to lift something that you “could-lift-no-problem-when-you-were-18.”  Stretch, strengthen your core and major muscle groups, and participate in moderate intensity aerobic exercise 5 times each week for approximately 60 minutes.
  2. If it’s heavy, don’t lift it!  This is a general statement because everyone has a different lifting tolerance, but do everything you can to avoid lifting heavy objects, especially in a repetitive manner.  Drag it, pull it, push it, wheel it, or get someone else to move it.  Your back is too precious to save a few moments in exchange for weeks of pain.
  3. If you must lift it, use good technique.  You have all heard the expression that you should lift with your knees, not with your back.  Another simple piece of advice is to avoid BLT’s (Bending, Lifting, Twisting).  Keep your back perfectly straight, put the load right in front of you, and turn your feet instead of you back.

Statistically speaking, you have a very high likelihood of experiencing back pain at some point in your life.  My hope is that you will avoid it as much as possible and keep your back healthy and happy.  After all, as was said by the 6-fingered man on The Princess Bride,“ if you haven’t got your health, you haven’t got anything.”