Back pain is an extremely common complaint for many people, whether due to an injury from work or recreation, or from an overly sedentary lifestyle. Back pain can be debilitating, interfere with everyday activities, and be difficult or time-consuming to treat, so taking steps to prevent it from occurring in the first place can make all the difference.
Improving your level of physical fitness and health overall is an important first step. Obesity often contributes to back pain since carrying excess weight stresses the spine and the muscles of the back. Getting regular amounts of even moderate exercise can help you to not only lose weight but also to build strength in the important back muscles; strong, healthy muscles are less likely to become injured or damaged and support your body more efficiently. Light strength training, swimming, and even walking are all beneficial choices.
Back muscles aren’t the only ones you should keep healthy for the sake of preventing back pain: your core muscles, including those the abdomen and pelvis affect back pain since they work so closely with the muscles in back. Keep your entire “corset” in good shape with regular moderate strength training, stretching, and cardio work to prevent injury in the back, shoulders, and even hips.
Poor posture is one of the most frequent causes of back pain, and one of the easiest things to correct in order to prevent it. If you’re one of the many people who spend the majority of the day sitting, make sure you have a chair that supports your lower back, and keep your spine aligned and straight with your knees and hips level; take breaks regularly. If you spend a lot of time standing, keep your spine aligned from the pelvis to the head, and prop one foot on a stepstool to ease strain on the lower back. When lifting heavy objects, lift with your legs and keep your back straight – and don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it.
Whether you’re just starting out or already work out regularly, don’t push too hard – listen to your body, avoid trying to push through existing back pain, and rest when you are injured.