Preventing back pain

Back pain is very common and any can affect any of us without warning. Although it is not possible to stop back pain completely there are lots of things we can do to reduce the likelihood of it coming back.

Consider the following steps which research tells us can help:

1.    Exercise: Being even a little fitter is helpful. Simple easy to achieve changes make a real differenceThere are two types of exercise that help:

General exercise such as brisk walking, cycling or swimming. An hour and a half a week is a good goal. It is important to do something you enjoy as you are more likely to stick with it. 

Exercises targeted to your back. Improving the effectiveness of the muscles that stabilize the spine can make the back more resilient. For example , core stability exercise such as Pilates, or exercises that help with flexibility such as Yoga or stretching have been shown to be effective.

2.    Sitting: Sitting even in a well adjusted office or car seat creates stress for our spine. Where possible limit the time you sit to no more than half an hour before getting up. A break of even a minute makes a real difference. Consider arranging to stand some of the time at work.

3.    Weight: Small reductions in weight can have a big effect on our spine. Even loosing a few pounds makes a worthwhile difference.

4.    Stress: Anxiety, tension and stress cause our body to react more strongly to pain and affect normal patterns of motion. These can make back pain more likely and more severe. Developing ways to manage stress in yourself such as breathing and relaxing techniques is helpful. Moderate exercise reduces the impact stress has

5.    Smoking: Tobacco use is linked to back pain. Just another reason to re-think your habit.