Orthopaedic surgeons suggest five tips to try
ROSEMONT, Ill.—Almost everyone will experience back pain at some point in their lives. While normal wear and tear of an aging spine is a common cause, there are certain activities that can increase an individual’s chance of developing back pain.
Based on a 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), more than 65.8 million adult Americans reported that they had low back pain.
Orthopaedic surgeons provide both non-operative and operative treatment for back and spine conditions. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) offers tips on how to protect your back and reduce the risk for pain and injuries.
“Many people with lower backaches say symptoms disrupt their daily routines; however, everyday habits may be the factors causing the pain,” says orthopaedic spine surgeon and AAOS spokesperson Dr. Michael Gleiber. “It’s important to identify some of those behaviors, avoid them and adapt healthy ones.”
Consider these five tips from the AAOS:
- Exercise regularly to strengthen your back and core muscles
If you already have acute back pain, hold off on strenuous exercise, but continue to get up and move around. Prolonged bed rest and inactivity could worsen symptoms. Specific exercises are available in the AAOS low back pain exercise guide.
- Use proper lifting techniques
Avoid lifting heavy items if possible, but if you must lift, be sure to use proper technique. Bend with your legs, not your back. Do not bend over to pick something up. Keep your back straight and always bend at your knees.
- Maintain a healthy weight
Excess weight on your body puts added stress on your lower back. Use this chart to determine your weight status.
- Practice using proper posture
Good posture is important to help avoid future back problems.
- Spine: Ears should be in line with tops of shoulders, and shoulders in line with hips.
- Shoulders: Upper arms should hang relaxed and close to the body.
- Wrists: Hands should be in line with lower arms.
- Avoid smoking
Both cigarette/cigar smoke and nicotine cause your spine to age faster than normal.
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About the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons