Back pain is one of the most common physical complaints that brings patients to their doctors’ offices. It’s estimated that around 80% of adults will experience back pain at some point during their lives. In some cases, back pain is unavoidable, whether it’s from injury or degenerative conditions. In other instances, taking precautions can help you avoid the perils of back pain.
Our back pain specialist shares five ways you can protect your back and reduce your risk of developing back pain.
Tip #1: Practice good posture
Slouching at your work desk for several hours during the day is bad news for your back. Poor posture is a common cause of lower back pain. When you slouch it places a strain on the joints, muscles, and discs that comprise the foundation of the back.
Over time, habitual slouching can cause changes to your spine that result in poor blood flow and reduced nerve function. These changes can pave the way for back pain. Luckily there are simple ways to improve your posture:
- Stand tall. Hold your head straight, tuck your chin, and pull your shoulders back to walk with better posture.
- Avoid slouching. Sit back in your chair at the office and opt for a lumbar cushion to help keep your back in a natural position.
- Bring your smartphone up. Tilting your head down when using your smartphone places strain on your spine. Bring the phone up to you instead.
- Try yoga. Yoga involves briefly holding a series of postures while focusing on breathing. Many yoga poses support your spine and encourage good posture.
Tip #2: Strengthen your core
When you think of the core you may envision six-pack abs, but the core is much more than that. It’s a group of muscles in your midsection that support proper spinal alignment. Your core is involved in nearly every movement you make from bending to lifting.
Strengthening your core muscles takes pressure off your spine and provides a strong foundation for your back. As the anchor and center, having strong core muscles keeps your back strong and reduces the risk of injury and back pain. Staying active and engaging in exercise that engages your midsection helps to keep your core strong -- and back pain at bay.
Tip #3: Avoid heavy lifting and lift safely when you do
Straining from heavy lifting or twisting your spine while lifting a weighty item from the ground is a common cause of back pain, particularly lower back pain. If your job involves heavy lifting, it’s important to lift safely. Start from a stable position, keep your back as straight as possible, and avoid twisting or leaning sideways.
Tip #4: Stretch and stay limber
Stretching is an often-forgotten key to preventing back pain. A flexible, strong back functions better and is less prone to injury and pain. Keeping your back flexible helps your joints, discs, and muscles move safely through their entire range of motion when you perform day-to-day movements.
Before beginning any exercise or training program, be sure to discuss it with your provider first. Some movements or exercises may worsen back pain.
Tip #5: See a specialist
If you’re dealing with back pain or have had back pain in the past, it’s wise to see a specialist to help keep back pain at bay. Pain management specialist and orthopedist Dr. David Wu can get to the root of your back pain and provide the right treatment to reign in symptoms. It’s important to undergo a comprehensive diagnostic exam to uncover the root of your back problems and avoid relying on self-diagnosis. With the right treatment, you can achieve lasting relief from back pain.
Don’t wait for back pain to go away on its own. Schedule a consultation to start down the road to getting relief. Call our office in Torrance, California, to schedule your appointment or book through this website using our online scheduling tool.