Low Back Pain - Topic Overview
A doctor or 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. Strengthening
the muscles in your trunk can improve your posture, keep your body in better balance, and
lower your chance of injury.
Certain other treatments work for some people
but not for others. You may need to try different things to see which work best
for you, such as:
If your symptoms are severe or you still have them after
2 weeks of self-care, see your doctor. You may need stronger pain medicines, or
you might benefit from
Having ongoing (chronic) back
pain can make you depressed. In turn, depression can have an effect on your
level of pain and whether your back gets better. People with depression and
chronic pain often benefit from both counseling and medicine. Special counseling can help you learn stress
management and pain control skills. Antidepressant medicines may help too.
How can you prevent low back pain from returning?
After you've had low back pain, you're likely to have
it again. But there are some things you can do to
help prevent it. And they can help you get better faster if you
do have low back pain again.
To help keep your back healthy and avoid further pain:
- Practice good posture when you sit, stand,
- Get regular, low-impact exercise. Walk, swim, or ride a
stationary bike. Stretch before you exercise.
- Wear low-heeled
shoes with good support.
- Sleep on your side. A medium-firm mattress
may put the least stress on your back.
- Watch your weight. Being too
heavy, especially around your waist, puts extra stress on your back.
- Don't try to lift things that are too heavy for you. When you must
lift, learn the right way to lift .
If you sit or stand for long periods at work:
- Pay attention to your posture. Sit or stand
up straight, with your shoulders back.
- Make sure your chair has
good back support.
- Take regular breaks to walk around.
If your work involves a lot of bending, reaching, or
- Talk to your human resources department to
see if there are other ways you can do your work.
- Don't depend on a
"back belt" to protect your back. Studies have not shown these belts to be
effective in reducing back injuries. The most they can do is to help remind you
to use good techniques for lifting.
Frequently Asked Questions