Back pain is something that nearly everyone experiences at some point in life – it’s almost unavoidable. In fact, an estimated 90 percent of all Americans deal with varying degrees of back pain at least once, and the vast majority will experience pain numerous times. Diagnosing the source of back pain is frustrating because the pain can be caused by a variety of sources, ranging from a traumatic injury to a seemingly minor tweak. In order to limit your chance for back injury, it can be helpful to read some prevention tips – you’ll be glad you did.
What to do
The good news is that while back injury is relatively common, there are still a number of small, but effective, lifestyle changes you can make to avoid the most common pitfalls:
- Stretch and warm up before any physical activities. Muscle strain in the lower back is an extremely common injury, especially among athletes, that can usually be avoided with proper preparation.
- Stay hydrated, and take frequent breaks to avoid back spasms and cramps.
- Practice proper lifting techniques. Lift with your knees, keep your back erect and abdominal muscles tight, and don’t twist or rotate when lifting.
- Avoid or limit high-impact activities and sports that commonly cause injury.
- Be extra careful on slippery surfaces.
- Avoid repetitive activities (bending, twisting, lifting, etc.) or prolonged vibration that puts additional stress on the spine and can accelerate degenerative disc disease.
- Practice good posture when you’re walking, sitting and even lying down. This means keeping your back straight, head forward and shoulders back.
- Eat healthy foods, and maintain a good body weight. The burden of supporting additional body weight puts additional stress on the spine and contributes to injury.
If you’re in pain
In addition to back injury, prolonged pain can also be traced to arthritis of the spine, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis and a variety of other types of degenerative spine conditions. Contact your physician if your back pain has lasted for several days, is interfering with motor function or has become debilitating. In most cases, back pain can be managed with a conservative course of action, including heat therapy, massage therapy, physical therapy and more. And, even if conservative treatment fails to relieve neck or back pain after several months, contact Laser Spine Institute. We offer minimally invasive, outpatient procedures to help patients find relief from neck or back pain.