Maybe you’ve just gotten home from a day at the office, or spent the day working in the yard. Either way you come inside at the end of the day and find yourself thinking, “Oh, my back!” Lower back pain is one of the most common medical problems today, affecting nearly 80% of adults at some point during their lives.
There are two classifications of back pain: acute and chronic. Acute lower back pain is short-term pain that can last from a few days to several weeks, whereas chronic lower back lasts for more than three months.
Prevent lower back pain by following these four simple steps:
Many people have a tendency to slouch when they are standing. Slouching causes stress on the muscles and ligaments in your back, resulting in both lower back pain and headaches among other health problems.
In order to maintain proper posture while standing, you should always remember to:
- Keep your shoulders pulled back allowing your hands to rest by your side.
- Align your feet with your hips, and pull your abdomen in so that it is firm.
- Relax your knees, and balance your weight equally on both feet.
The wall test can help you get an idea of how you should be standing if you want to maintain proper posture.
Whether you work from home or in an office building, it is important to have a work environment that allows you to maintain proper sitting posture.
While sitting, you should have both feet on the ground while keeping your knees level with your hips. Your back should rest against the chair so you can keep your upper back and neck comfortably straight. Your shoulders should be relaxed, and your head should be stretched towards the ceiling.
For extra support, you can place a small pillow or towel behind your lower back to help maintain its natural curve.
Using improper techniques while lifting heavy objects is one of the most common factors contributing to the development of low back pain. When lifting heavy items, you should keep your back straight while bending at the waist with your knees close to the floor so that you use your knees instead of your back to lift the package. Hold the item as close to your body as possible. Remember to check the weight of the item first, and if it is too heavy for you to lift on your own ask for help.
Taking a few minutes every day to stretch and fit in a few strengthening exercises can help prevent back pain by strengthening the muscles and ligaments in your back.
When you don’t have time to make it to the gym or fit an at-home workout into your busy schedule, you can take a few minutes before you go to bed to practice some yoga moves. Yoga can help reduce muscle tension and build muscle strength, both of which can help reduce your chances of developing lower back pain.
Although lower back pain is common in most adults, maintaining proper posture and being mindful of the strain you place on your back can help prevent further injury in the future.
Advice or recommendations are for informational or educational purposes only, not a substitute for a visit or consultation with your doctor.
Get more information about specific health terms, topics and conditions to better manage your health on bcbst.com. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee members can access wellness-related discounts on fitness products, gym memberships, healthy eating and more through Blue365®. BCBST members can also find tools and resources to help improve health and well-being by logging into BlueAccess and going to the Managing Your Health tab.