Back pain is one of the most common reasons people go to the doctor or miss work, and it is a leading cause of disability worldwide.
Fortunately, you can take measures to prevent or relieve most back pain episodes. Here are some ways you can prevent back pain and help your body stay healthy and injury-free:
It can be challenging to get up and move when back pain strikes. However, a short walk, yoga, water exercise, or another low-impact activity can often help alleviate back pain. Exercise may loosen tense muscles and release endorphins, which are the brain’s natural painkillers. A person can also consider starting a daily exercise program, including strength training and stretching, to help keep muscles flexible and strong. Regular exercise may prevent future episodes of back pain that are due to tight muscles.
Getting enough calcium and Vitamin D can help keep your bones strong and prevent osteoporosis. Osteoporosis makes your bones weaker and more likely to fracture (break). Spine fractures from osteoporosis are a leading cause of back pain.
In one study of 360 patients with back pain, all of them were found to have inadequate levels of vitamin D. After taking vitamin D supplements for 3 months, symptoms were improved in 95% of the patients. All of them with the most severe vitamin D deficiencies experienced back-pain relief.
Improper posture due to slouching or straining at a desk may cause back pain and other muscle aches. Using ergonomics to modify a workstation can help reduce pain due to poor posture.
A person should ensure their computer screen is at eye level and that their chair is at the correct height. Proper ergonomics at work may help reduce back pain and other injuries, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in the United States.
One study in Denmark found that people who worked in nursing homes or home care had less lower back pain after changes in ergonomics, combined with behavioral therapy and physical training.
If a person does any lifting for their job, they should squat and use their legs — not their back — for support. It is best to ask for help or use trolleys when moving very heavy objects.
If you’re 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 can’t sleep any other way, place a pillow under your hips.
Using an orthopedic pillow might help bring relief from back pain and prevent future pain. Orthopedic pillows are specially designed to reduce neck and back pain whilst supporting the lower cervical spine. They can be used while sleeping, but also while sitting in bed, on the floor or on the couch in order to have a better sitting position.