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Low Back Pain - Living With Low Back Pain

Pay attention to your body mechanics and posture

Body mechanics are the way you use your body. Posture is the way you sit or stand.

  • To prevent a return of low back pain, you will need to take extra care when you lift. When you must lift, bend your knees and flex from your hips. Don't let your spine slump.
    actionset.gif Back Problems: Proper Lifting
  • Think about your posture, whether you are sitting or standing. Slumping or slouching alone may not cause low back pain. But after the back has been strained or injured, bad posture can make pain worse. "Good posture" generally means your ears, shoulders, and hips are in a straight line. If this posture causes pain, you may have another condition such as a problem with a disc or bones in your back.

Stretch and strengthen your back

When you no longer have acute pain, you may be ready for gentle strengthening exercises for your stomach, back, and legs, and perhaps for some stretching exercises. Exercise may not only help decrease low back pain but also may help you recover faster, prevent reinjury to your back, and reduce the risk of disability from back pain.

Walking is the simplest and perhaps the best exercise for the low back. Your doctor or a physical therapist can recommend more specific exercises to help your back muscles get stronger. These may include a series of simple exercises called core stabilization. The muscles of your trunk, or core, support your spine. Strengthening these muscles can improve your posture, keep your body in better balance, and decrease your chance of injury.

actionset.gif Fitness: Increasing Core Stability
actionset.gif Low Back Pain: Exercises to Reduce Pain

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One Man's Story:

"I discovered that what you have to do is this: You do as much as you can."—Robert

Read more about how Robert controls his back pain by staying active.

Take care of stress

Stress and low back pain can create a vicious circle. You have back pain, and you begin to worry about it. This causes stress, and your back muscles begin to tense. Tense muscles make your back pain worse, and you worry more ... which makes your back worse ... and so on.

There are lots of ways to teach yourself to relax.

actionset.gif Stress Management: Practicing Yoga to Relax
actionset.gif Stress Management: Doing Guided Imagery to Relax
actionset.gif Stress Management: Breathing Exercises for Relaxation
actionset.gif Stress Management: Doing Progressive Muscle Relaxation
actionset.gif Stress Management: Relaxing Your Mind and Body
actionset.gif Stress Management: Managing Your Time
actionset.gif Stress Management: Doing Meditation

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One Woman's Story:

"I had too much to do and too little time. That means stress. And when I start stressing, my back starts aching. Before I knew it, my back was screaming at me."—Cathy

Read more about how Cathy made time to deal with her stress.

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