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Low Back Pain: What You Can Do continued...

Whether you're lifting your child or a bag of groceries, use these lifting tips as a guide.

  • Plan the lift and take your time.
  • Get close to the load and test its weight before you lift. If you think it's too awkward or heavy, don't lift it. When the grocery checker asks if you want help to your car, swallow your pride and say yes. Or, at the very least, have the checker pack less in each bag.
  • Put your feet shoulder width apart, tighten your stomach muscles, get a firm grasp, and lift with your legs, not your back. How do you do that? Bend at the knees, instead of your waist. That makes your legs do the work, not your low back. The muscles in your legs are larger and stronger than the muscles of the lower back.
  • As you lift, keep your head in line with your back and don't twist or jerk. Don't sling your toddler up onto your hip! Point your toes in the direction you are moving. Then pivot. As you move, hold the object as close as you can to your body. This takes some stress off your back.  
  • When placing a child in a car seat, don't reach from outside the car. Squat and get as close to the seat as you can. If your child is old enough, have him or her climb into the car seat.  

Avoid smoking. Does it seem like smoking has little to do with your back? You might be surprised.  Smoking can contribute to reduced blood flow to your spine and cause it to age faster, putting you at greater risk for low back pain.

Eat well and maintain a healthy weight. Maintaining a healthy weight takes some of the strain off your lower back. Also, eating enough calcium and vitamin D helps promote bone strength. 

Low Back Pain Treatment

What you need for treatment depends on the cause of your low back pain.

Your doctor may recommend temporary use of medications to relieve pain. These might include over-the counter medicines such as acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen. Sometimes, stronger medications may be prescribed for pain treatment. If pain is severe or lasts, you may need oral or injected steroids.

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Every Day with Back Pain

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WebMD Video Series

Click here to wach video: Low Back Pain and Your Posture

What role does posture play in your chronic back pain — and what can you do about it?