Live Back-Healthy

Live Back-Healthy

Each day, notice how your habits help or hurt your back. Consider how you move, what you eat, and how you sleep. Find ways to improve your back health and comfort.

Conditions: Back pain

Symptoms: Pain, stiffness, aching, burning, muscle pain, pain when standing, pain with movement, lower back pain, upper back pain, buttock numbness, pinched nerve, difficulty standing up , difficulty sitting down, symptoms worse in evening, symptoms worse in AM, aching, back pain, pain worse in AM

Triggers:

Treatments:

Categories: Treatment

Duration

7

Strong and Flexible

Exercise gets your blood moving and helps reduce muscle tension. Regular exercise improves your overall fitness and helps you maintain a healthy weight, too. Swimming, walking, tai chi, and yoga are often good choices for people with chronic back pain.

Help prevent injury and keep your back strong with exercises that strengthen your back and abdominal muscles.

If you are having back pain, avoid twisting, quick forward bends, and high-impact exercises.

End all exercise with gentle stretching.

Prompt:  Work it!

CTA:  Exercise regularly to keep pain in check.

Conditions: back pain

Symptoms: Pain, weakness, stiffness, aching, burning, muscle pain, pain when standing, pain with movement, lower back pain, upper back pain, buttock numbness, pinched nerve, difficulty standing up, difficulty sitting down, symptoms worse in evening, symptoms worse in AM, aching, back pain, pain worse in AM

Triggers:  carrying or lifting, excess activity, heavy lifting, sitting too long, standing too long, gardening, twisting, desk work, injury, overdoing it, over use, workplace injury

Treatment: aerobic exercise, balance exercises, biking, exercise, muscle strengthening, range-of-motion exercises, stretching, swimming, Tai Chi, walking, yoga, strength training

Categories:  Treatment

Beware the Brace

It's tempting to baby your back muscles, but back braces, lumbar supports, and corsets may not be the answer.

Braces may be needed after some types of surgery or for some types of back injuries, but use them only if and when recommended by your medical professional. Otherwise, you could be doing more harm than good.

Extended brace wearing may weaken back and abdominal muscles and lead to pain. Keep your core strong by using those muscles.

Prompt: Ditch the brace.

CTA: Don't let core muscles get weak.

Conditions: back pain

Symptoms: pain, sharp pain, numbness, tingling, weakness, stiffness, aching, burning, muscle pain, pain when standing, pain with movement, lower back pain, upper back pain, pinched nerve, difficulty sitting down, difficulty standing, symptoms worse in evening, back pain

Triggers: exercising, heavy lifting, pushing or pulling repetitive motions, twisting, overdoing it, using machinery, vibration, injury, workplace injury, anxiety, stress, carrying or lifting, housework, twisting, overuse

Treatments: back belt, corset, brace, support belt, occupational therapy

Categories: Treatment

Pounds Can Mean Pain

Maintaining a healthy weight can ease back pain -- and help prevent a recurrence of pain, too. Extra weight, especially in your midsection, can shift your center of gravity and put extra strain on your back.

Aim to get to or stay within 10 pounds of your ideal weight by eating healthfully and exercising regularly. If you are overweight and that's a long way to go, don't despair. Losing 10% of your weight (that's 20 lbs. if you weigh 200) can help relieve back pain and increase range of motion. 

Although maintaining a healthy weight is important, having the strength to control your body at whatever weight is also important.  Exercising is a great way to control both.    

Prompt: Watch weight.

CTA: Avoid added back strain.

Conditions: back pain

Symptoms: Pain, stiffness, aching, burning, muscle pain, pain when standing, pain with movement, lower back pain, upper back pain, buttock numbness, pinched nerve, difficulty standing up, difficulty sitting down, symptoms worse in evening, symptoms worse in AM, aching, back pain, pain worse in AM

Triggers:  inactivity, not exercising, obesity, overweight

Treatment: Dietary changes, eating less at dinner, exercise, weight loss

Categories: Treatment

Eating Well

A healthy, well-balanced diet including dairy products, vegetables (especially leafy green ones) and fruits, whole grains, and plenty of water will help keep your body working properly.

Dehydration and lack of minerals such as calcium, potassium, sodium, and magnesium can lead to muscle cramps and spasms. Calcium also helps keep bones -- like your spine -- strong.

Think about how you can make your next meal and your next trip to the store healthier for your back.

Prompt: Chow time!

CTA: Feed your bones and muscles.

Conditions: back pain

Symptoms: Pain, stiffness, aching, burning, muscle pain, pain when standing, pain with movement, lower back pain, upper back pain, buttock numbness, pinched nerve, difficulty standing up, difficulty sitting down, symptoms worse in evening, symptoms worse in AM, aching, back pain, pain worse in AM

Triggers:  Poor diet, vitamin deficiency, mineral deficiency

Treatment: calcium, vitamin D, ate healthy, dietary changes, nutrition therapy

Categories: Treatment

Quit Smoking

If you smoke, you've heard it before. But did you know that quitting could help both your lungs and your back?

Cigarette smoke contains poisonous carbon monoxide, and the nicotine in cigarettes constricts your small blood vessels. That means your tissues get less blood, oxygen, and nutrients and are less able to heal.

Studies suggest that current and former smokers are more likely to have back pain compared to those who have never smoked.

Prompt:  Butt out!

CTA:  Give up cigarettes.

Conditions: back pain

Symptoms: Pain, stiffness, aching, burning, muscle pain, pain when standing, pain with movement, lower back pain, upper back pain, buttock numbness, pinched nerve, difficulty standing up, difficulty sitting down, symptoms worse in evening, symptoms worse in AM, aching, back pain, pain worse in AM

Triggers: smoking, tobacco

Treatment: Quit smoking

Categories: Treatment

Less Rest Is More

After an injury, bed rest may help. However, staying in bed for more than 1-2 days can make your pain worse, depending on the type of injury you have and its severity.

Remember, exercise increases blood flow, and that encourages healing.

As soon as you can, try to get up and move to help relieve stiffness and restore mobility. You'll feel better.

Prompt:  Stay active.

CTA:  Don't overdo taking it easy.

Conditions: back pain

Symptoms: Pain, stiffness, aching, burning, muscle pain, pain when standing, pain with movement, lower back pain, upper back pain,  buttock numbness, foot pain, pinched nerve, difficulty standing up, difficulty sitting down, symptoms worse in evening, symptoms worse in AM, aching, back pain, pain worse in AM

Triggers: inactivity, not exercising, sleeping too much

Treatment: bed rest (brief), stretching, range-of-motion exercise

Categories: Treatment

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Ross Brakeville, DPT on June 02, 2019

Sources

SOURCES:

National Institute of Neurological Disorder and Stroke: "Low Back Pain Fact Sheet."

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: "Handout on Health: Back Pain."

North American Spine Society. Back Pain Basics, 2007.

Warren, L. Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy, 2001.

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: "Muscle Cramp."

Shiri, R. The American Journal of Medicine, January 2010.

University of Michigan Health System: "Smoking and Back Pain."

American Chiropractic Association: "The Skinny on Weight Loss."

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