What Can I Do To Prevent Low Back Pain?

Dr. Ludwig answers the question: 'What Can I Do To Prevent Low Back Pain?'

— -- Question: Is There Anything I Can Do To Prevent Low Back Pain?

Answer: Low back pain is very common. It affects 80 percent of people at some time during their lives. It's the leading cause of disability for people ages 19 through 45 and is the second most common cause of missed work days and visits to a primary care physician. Low back pain is a significant health care problem and the risk increases with age.

However, there's some good news. The number of back injuries in the workplace is decreasing, perhaps because of increased awareness and improved measures to prevent back injuries.

Here's what you can do to prevent low back pain: exercise regularly, an inactive lifestyle contributes to lower back pain. Avoid improper lifting such as bending over; lift an object by bending your knees and squatting to pick up the object. Make sure you keep your back straight and hold the object close to your body. Also, avoid twisting your body while lifting.

Push rather than pull moving heavier objects. If you must sit at a desk or at the wheel of a car or truck for long hours, take breaks and step out to stretch. If you need to stand up for prolong periods of time, wear flat shoes or shoes with low heels. That will place less strain on your low back muscles.

Finally, stop smoking. This not only improves your overall health, but can also slow down the degeneration in your discs in the back that cause common back pain.

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