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Keeping Your Back Healthy

Back pain - what are the chances that you will experience some form of back pain in your lifetime? Well according to recent research back problems are among patients’ most frequent complaints to their doctors. Nearly 65 million Americans report a recent episode of back pain. Some 16 million adults — 8 percent of all adults — experience persistent or chronic back pain, and as a result are limited in certain everyday activities. Back pain is also the sixth most costly condition in the United States at $50 billion per year. These statistics can be discouraging but there are ways to minimize your risk of developing long-term, chronic back pain.

There are several factors that can cause back pain, including stress, excess weight, poor posture, lack of exercise, bad ergonomics, arthritis, osteoporosis, a sedentary lifestyle, overexertion, pregnancy, kidney stones and fibromyalgia to name a few.

Here are a few healthy back tips to help you prevent back pain:

  • Stretch and warm muscles prior to exercise or other strenuous activities.

  • Practice good posture (i.e. avoid slouching).

  • Keep your weight balanced on both feet when standing.

  • Practice good ergonomics when working at a desk. Rest your feet on a foot support, make sure your chair and work surface are at the proper height and get up to move around when sitting for extended periods of time.

  • Avoid high heeled shoes. I know they are cute but they are killing your feet and back.

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight puts undue stress on low back muscles.

  • Exercise like Pilates will strengthen your core muscles and support your back.

  • Don’t lift heavy items and when you do lift items, lift with your knees and not your back.

  • Get a massage. Using therapeutic bodywork can melt pain-inducing stress away from your back and the rest of your body.

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