How to deal with back pain

Caroline Cassidy

The incidence of back pain could be drastically reduced if more preventative measures where taken. Here are a few steps that could help you avoid a lot of discomfort...

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General fitness is a big factor when it comes to maintaining a healthy back. Exercise helps keep the muscles supple and strong providing the body with support. The extra strength and suppleness will allow more fluid movement protecting your back from any sudden movements.

Whatever you do in the gym make sure you invest in good trainers. These will help you avoid hard impacts that can send shockwaves through the back. Try yoga, swimming or cycling for low impact exercise options and remember if you are doing anything energetic try wearing something supportive. There are certain fabrics, which will help your skin breathe while offering much needed support for your back.

Learn some stretching exercises. Stretches should be gentle without any sudden movements or excessive force. Be careful, you might injure yourself if you try too hard. Get some advice first.

Stop smoking. As well as all the other health benefits there are to quitting smoking you will also reduce the risk of developing degenerative disc disorder. Smoking reduces the body's oxygen levels and this impacts on the oxygen available to the discs. Maintaining a healthy weight will also help maintain the condition of your back by easing the strain on joints and ligaments.

Eating a balanced diet that includes a variety of vitamins and nutrients will help reduce back problems by nourishing the bones, muscles and discs. Calcium is particularly important and can be obtained through a variety of healthy food choices as well as nutritional supplements.

If your job involves heavy lifting or moving awkward objects then you should have the correct equipment available to assist you. There are laws in place to ensure this happens. You can also obtain training programmes showing you how to lift correctly. Ask your boss for details.

You should avoid sitting in the same position for long periods. Try taking regular short breaks to ease any back fatigue. It's important to have the correct seating. Check with your employer, you should get a workstation assessment to find out if you are seated correctly.

When doing jobs around the home get help. Remember, it is much better to push an object than pull it and never twist at the waist. Always use your feet when turning. Bend your knees when reaching down for an object and don't be tempted to bend in the middle, even if it is just a short distance.

These few basic rules can help you stay free of back trouble. Never ignore back pain - see your GP for treatment and prevent further problems arising.