Conditions & Treatments

Back Pain Prevention

Risk factors for back pain include: being overweight, frequent bending and lifting, smoking, caring for a bed-ridden family member, poor posture, and not getting regular exercise.

Lifting heavy objects

When lifting a heavy object or moving a person, you should be sure to keep your feet shoulder-width apart and bend your knees. Keep the person or object close to your body and do not be in a hurry. Lift with your leg muscles rather than with your back, being sure not to bend at your waist. Tighten your stomach muscles before lifting. Avoid twisting your body; you should instead pivot your feet toward where you need to go.

Sitting at a desk

If you work at a desk, you should make sure that the chair supports your lower back and that you keep your shoulders and neck erect. Once an hour, be sure to stand and stretch by placing your hands on your lower back and gently leaning backwards.

New mothers

Pregnant women often complain of back pain. The pain usually goes away within two weeks post-delivery, but lifting and carrying the child may also cause back pain. In order to avoid back pain after delivery, women should try to return to normal body weight by six weeks post-delivery. When lifting the baby, follow the suggestions above for lifting objects. You may want to also consider using a front carrying pack to carry your baby long distances. Women should also do abdominal and back exercises after giving birth to restore muscle tone, unless they underwent a Caesarian section. Women who had a C-section should wait 6 weeks or get their obstetrician’s permission before doing these exercises.

Backpacks

Backpacks not only cause muscle strain and fatigue, but when used frequently, can also lead to bad posture and slouching. To avoid back pain, you should use a backpack with wide padded straps and a padded back. The straps should be firmly tightened, holding the pack two inches above your waist. When packing your backpack, make sure everything is arranged neatly and keep heavier items closer to your back. If you must carry heavy weights, consider purchasing a backpack with wheels or using a hip strap.