back pain prevent

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Preventing Back Pain


One of the best things you can do to prevent back pain is to exercise regularly and keep your back muscles strong. Exercises that increase balance and strength can decrease your risk of falling and injuring your back or breaking bones. Exercises such as tai chi and yoga – or any weight-bearing exercise that challenges your balance – are good ones to try.

Practicing good posture, supporting your back properly, and avoiding heavy lifting when you can may all help you prevent injury. If you do lift something heavy, keep your back straight. Don't bend over the item; instead, lift it by putting the stress on your legs and hips.

Hot or cold packs – or sometimes a combination of the two – can be soothing to chronically sore, stiff backs. Heat dilates the blood vessels, both improving the supply of oxygen that the blood takes to the back and reducing muscle spasms. Heat also alters the sensation of pain. Cold may reduce inflammation by decreasing the size of blood vessels and the flow of blood to the area. Although cold may feel painful against the skin, it numbs deep pain. Applying heat or cold may relieve pain, but it does not cure the cause of chronic back pain.


References and Sources: Medline, Pubmed, National Institutes of Health.


last update: April 2009


This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this material to diagnose or treat a health condition or disease without consulting with your healthcare provider.
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