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Low Back Pain (cont.)

Prevention

There is no clear evidence that you can prevent low back pain. But there are some things you can do that may help prevent it. And they can prepare you for faster recovery if you do have low back pain.

  • Exercise to keep your back healthy and strong. Exercise programs that include aerobic conditioning and strengthening exercises can help keep low back pain from coming back.
    Click here to view an Actionset.Fitness: Increasing Core Stability
    Click here to view an Actionset.Low Back Pain: Exercises to Reduce Pain
  • Learn how to lift objects safely to protect your back.
    Click here to view an Actionset.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.
  • Try different sleeping positionsClick here to see an illustration. that protect your back. If you sleep on your side, try putting a pillow between your knees. If you sleep on your back, use a pillow under your knees. You can also try rolling up a small towel and using it to support your lower 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. Smoking increases your risk of bone loss (osteoporosis) and increases your sensitivity to pain. Smoking also interferes with blood circulation by tightening the arteries, which makes it harder for blood to flow, and by decreasing the amount of oxygen the red blood cells can carry. Spinal discs don't have their own blood supply, but they receive nutrition in part from the blood supply to the vertebral bones above and below them. Decreased circulation may increase the speed of degeneration and/or slow the healing of the discs. For more information on how to quit, see the topic Quitting Smoking.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Getting plenty of calcium and vitamin D may help prevent osteoporosis, which can lead to compression fractures and low back pain.
  • Manage the stress in your life, both at home and at work.
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