Back Pain Tips

What do couch potatoes and exercise fanatics have in common? They can both suffer from one of the most common sources of disability in the United States: back pain.

According to the American Chiropractic Association, back pain is one of the most frequent reasons people take off from work—and the leading cause of disability. Acute (short-term) back pain can immobilize you, but it only lasts a few weeks. To prevent your acute back pain from becoming chronic, or to ease your chronic back pain, keep a few things in mind.

First, exercise carefully. A lack of exercise weakens your back muscles and makes them more prone to injury. However, lifting too much weight or trying to exercise too much in one session is also dangerous. If you haven’t been exercising lately, start slow! Build up to a healthy routine. A good cardio workout once a day is safer than an intense workout twice a week. And, if you’re already experiencing back pain, avoid weightlifting entirely.

Second, posture matters. Whether you’re sitting at a computer, driving a car or watching a football game on the couch, your spinal cord can misalign if you’re not careful. When you sit, your knees should be level with, or higher than, your hips; your shoulders should also be kept back. Your spine will thank you!

Third, if you do have back pain, avoid wasting your hard-earned money on products that don’t work. According to the Mayo Clinic, no medical evidence suggests that gel insoles or back supports relieve or prevent back pain. Don’t be deceived by advertising.

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