5 Ways to Defend Against Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain has several causes that can be easily remedied. Follow these five steps to protect your back

Credit: iStockphoto

Lower-back pain is a common affliction that can be prevented

Eight out of 10 people suffer from lower-back pain at some point in their lifetimes.

Most experience their first episode when in their 30s or 40s, but it tends to become more common with age.

Regardless of when it happens, back pain can be a debilitating problem, which is why it’s so important to take steps to help defend against it.

Luckily, there are five simple things you can do to combat lower-back pain.

Credit: iStockphoto

Maintain Proper Posture

Keep an upright posture when seated at your computer. The monitor should be at eye level and at least 18 inches away. The keyboard and mouse should be approximately waist height and your chair should offer lower-back support.

Also, get up and stretch tense muscles frequently.

Credit: iStockphoto

Prop a Foot

If you must stand for long periods, prop one foot on a low stool. This allows the lower-back muscles to relax, which helps prevent painful muscle fatigue.

Also, if you stand on hard surfaces like concrete, install a cushioned rubber mat.

Credit: iStockphoto

Use Proper Lifting Technique

Bend your knees and lift using your leg muscles, not your back.

Also, avoid sudden movements, like lifting and twisting at the same time.

Credit: iStockphoto

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Excess weight, especially around the belly, puts extra stress on the muscles of the lower back. It’s just one more reason to work on achieving a healthy weight.

Strengthen Back and Abdominal Muscles

One of the most important ways to protect your back is to exercise your back and abdominal muscles to ensure they provide optimal support for the spine.

Note: Many common exercises stress the lower back if improperly done.

When doing abdominal exercises keep one or both legs bent at the knee. This prevents your lower back from arching past its natural “S” curve. When you overarch your back, the stress falls off the abdominal muscles and onto your back.

If you haven’t exercised in a long time, see your doctor or a qualified physiotherapist before embarking on a fitness program.

Originally published in Wellness Matters, Canada Wide Media’s quarterly newsletter on health and wellness.