. Its very easy to twist the wrong way and damage your spine if you dont use proper form when lifting an object. Heres how to lift correctly: Stand as close to the object as you can. Use your legs rather than your back or upper body to pull up the item. It will help if you bend your knees so your arms are at the same height as the item. Keep your back straight. If the item is heavy, dont try to lift it yourself get help.
. Sleeping well is important to your overall health, says Anne Coffey, DC, a chiropractor with AllCare Health Associates in Totowa, N.J. Your body needs a good nights sleep to repair itself, she says. Sleep on your side, not your stomach. Sleeping on your stomach puts too much pressure on your spine. Invest in a supportive mattress as well as a pillow that promotes proper alignment of your neck, Dr. Coffey says. Be sure to turn your mattress regula
. I never go a day without reminding people that they need to stretch to help their back and neck, Coffey says. Keeping flexible helps maintain normal joint function and a good range of motion. It also reduces the risk of injury. Many back pain problems are caused by tight hamstrings muscles in the backs of your legs. If your hamstring muscles are tight, they will pull on the bottom of your pelvis and encourage it to rotate backward. This can then
. Whether you make regular visits to the gym, walk, bike, swim, or play with your kids, staying active and keeping your body moving helps maintain the health of your spine, Coffey says. The best exercise routine for your back and neck is one that combines stretching, strengthening, and aerobic activity. Exercise also helps you to lose weight or maintain a proper weight. Being overweight, especially if you have belly fat, can put added stress on the
. Staying hydrated is important to maintaining soft tissue elasticity and fluidity in joints, Coffey says. Our intervertebral (spinal) discs are vulnerable to loss of hydration and can begin to lose height. As the discs begin to shrink, you are more vulnerable to painful disc conditions such as bulging or ruptures. In addition, as the spine begins to lose its protective padding, it further contributes to the loss of structural health, she says.
. Proper ergonomics can help reduce a lot of stress on both the lower and upper back, thus reducing the frequency of conditions ranging from stiff back and headaches to carpal tunnel and sciatica, Coffey says. Make sure your workspace whether a laptop, phone, computer desk, or even your car is set up for your height and functionality. Choose a chair that provides back support. Your knees should be at 90 degrees and your feet should rest comfortab
Pay attention to any warning signs
. Dont ignore spinal problems or pain, Coffey says. Although it is common to have back pain once in a while, it can indicate a more serious problem. Left untreated, problems with your spine can worsen and become quite serious. Listen to what your body is telling you, she says. Dont overdo it at the gym or at work, or self medicate for a problem. Seek professional care to learn about your spine and the correct treatment for your symptoms.Build these
Get more exercise
. If your back is hurting, you may think the best way to get relief is to limit exercise and to rest. A day or two of rest may help, but more than that may not help the pain. Experts now know that regular physical activity can help ease inflammation and muscle tension.
Watch your weight
. Extra pounds, especially in your midsection, can make back pain worse by shifting your center of gravity and putting strain on your lower back. Staying within 10 pounds of your ideal weight may help control back pain.
If you smoke stop
. Smoking restricts the flow of nutrient containing blood to spinal discs, so smokers are especially vulnerable to back pain.
. If youre prone to back pain, talk with your doctor about the best sleeping position. Sleeping on your side with your knees pulled up slightly toward your chest is sometimes suggested. Prefer to sleep on your back? Put one pillow under your knees and another under your lower back. Sleeping on your stomach can be especially hard on your back. If you cant sleep any other way, place a pillow under your hips.
Pay attention to your posture
. The best chair for preventing back pain is one with a straight back or low back support. Keep your knees a bit higher than your hips while seated. Prop your feet on a stool if you need to. If you must stand for a prolonged period, keep your head up and your stomach pulled in. If possible, rest one foot on a stool and switch feet every five to 15 minutes.
Be careful how you lift
. Dont bend over from the waist to lift heavy objects. Bend your knees and squat, pulling in your stomach muscles and holding the object close to your body as you stand up. Dont twist your body while lifting. If you can, push rather than pull heavy objects. Pushing is easier on the back.
Avoid high heels
. They can shift your center of gravity and strain your lower back. Stick to a one inch heel. If you have to go higher, bring along a pair of low heeled shoes and slip into them if you become uncomfortable.
Lighten your wallet
. Sitting on an overstuffed wallet may cause discomfort and back pain. If youre going to be sitting for a prolonged period while driving, for example, take your wallet out of your back pocket.
Pick the right handbag or briefcase
. Buy a bag or briefcase with a wide, adjustable strap thats long enough to reach over your head. A messenger bag (like the ones bike messengers wear) is made to wear this way. Having the strap on the opposite shoulder of the bag distributes the weight more evenly and helps keep your shoulders even and your back pain free. When carrying a heavy bag or case without straps, switch hands frequently to avoid putting all the stress on one side of the bo
Forget about back braces
. Various back supports are available, from elastic bands to special corsets. They can be helpful after certain kinds of surgery, but there is not much evidence that they help treat chronic back pain.
Get an accurate clinical diagnosis
. A clinical diagnosis should rule out the possibility of rare but serious conditions (such as a tumor), categorize your condition, and determine if there are neurological deficits (nerve damage). It is based on a combination of the doctors findings on your diagnostic tests, your physical exam and symptoms, and is essential to determine appropriate treatment options for your back pain or neck pain. See Getting an Accurate Back Pain Diagnosis.
. People who smoke are more likely to have lower back pain and over 80% more likely to develop degenerative disc disease than non smokers. Zyban is one medication available to help quit smoking. Read more at Does Smoking Cause Low Back Pain? and Anti Smoking Medications.
. Exercise provides the double benefit of helping your back heal more quickly and helping prevent a recurrence of the back pain. A focused exercise program is a critical part of almost any back pain treatment, and should include a combination of stretching, strengthening and low impact aerobic exercise. Exercise is important to continue even after you feel better to prevent future bouts of back pain. Read more with Physical Therapy Benefits For Bac
Find the right spine specialist
. Many people who suffer from ongoing back pain need to visit a spine specialist. Sometimes it will take a process of trial and error and seeing a number of health care professionals before finding back pain relief and a treatment program that works for you. Also, try to be patient, as treating back pain is often more an art than a science and it may take a while to find the most helpful treatment. Read more at Specialists Who Treat Back Pain.
Proactively manage your situation
. We encourage you to proactively manage treatment for your back pain. This includes carefully preparing for your doctor visits, so that they are as productive and helpful as possible, and educating yourself with reliable information so you can ask the doctor the most useful questions. Read more with Preparing to Meet with a Spine Surgeon or Spine Specialist.
. kneel down on one knee with the other foot flat on the floor as near as possible to the item you are lifting. Lift with your legs, not your back, keeping the object close to your body at all times.
Reaching and Bending
. When reaching for something above shoulder level, stand on a stool. Straining to reach such objects may not only hurt your mid back and neck, but it can also bring on shoulder problems.Do NOT bend over at the waist to pick up items from the floor or a table.Instead, kneel down on one knee, as close as possible to the item you are lifting, with the other foot flat on the floor and pick the item up. Or bend at the knees, keep the item close to your
Correct sitting position
. Sit up with your back straight and your shoulders back. Your buttocks should touch the back of your chair.All three normal back curves should be present while sitting. A small, rolled up towel or a lumbar roll can be used to help you maintain the normal curves in your back.Heres how to find a good sitting position when youre not using a back support or lumbar roll Sit at the end of your chair and slouch completely. Draw yourself up and accentuate
Correct driving position
. Use a back support (lumbar roll) at the curve of your back. Your knees should be at the same level or higher than your hips.Move the seat close to the steering wheel to support the curve of your back. The seat should be close enough to allow your knees to bend and your feet to reach the pedals.
Correct lifting position
. If you must lift objects, do not try to lift objects that are awkward or are heavier than 30 pounds. Before you lift a heavy object, make sure you have firm footing. To pick up an object that is lower than the level of your waist, keep your back straight and bend at your knees and hips. Do not bend forward at the waist with your knees straight.Stand with a wide stance close to the object you are trying to pick up and keep your feet firm on the