- Exercise to keep your back healthy and strong.
- Learn how to lift objects safely to protect your back.
- Think about your posture, whether you are sitting or standing.
- Try different sleeping positions that protect your back.
- Wear low-heeled shoes.
- Stay at a healthy weight to avoid excess strain on your lower back. For more information, see the topic Weight Management.
- If you're a smoker, quit.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Manage stress.
- Make sure children and teenagers use school bags and backpacks correctly.
Exercises to avoid
Some exercises actually increase the chances of causing of low back pain. Avoid:
- Straight-leg sit-ups.
- Bent-leg sit-ups during acute back pain (may be safe if back is kept in neutral position).
- Leg lifts (lifting both legs while lying on your back).
- Lifting heavy weights above the waist (military press or biceps curls while standing).
- Any stretching done while sitting with the legs in a V position.
- Toe touches while standing.
Work comfort and design
Most back problems that occur in the workplace are caused by physical stress, such as being in an awkward position for a long time, making the same motions over and over, and simply using your back too much. These injuries can cause stress and strain on muscles, nerves, tendons, joints, blood vessels, or spinal discs.
Arrange your work to help prevent work-related injuries. It is important to position yourself so that you can sit comfortably and minimize stress on any one area of your body. Change your positions and tasks as often as possible, and match tools to your size and preferences. If you are doing a job or task that requires you to sit for long periods, get up and stretch and move around at least once an hour.