There are a number of simple steps you can take to reduce the chances of suffering from back pain; these include:
- Improving your posture: try to sit up straight with your back well-supported; this can be achieved by using a chair with a high back and using a small cushion to support the small of your back. When you are standing up, try to stand with your back straight and your weight distributed evenly between the feet; your legs should also be straight.
- Take breaks when driving or sitting for long periods of time: take regular breaks so that you can stretch your muscles and loosen up.
- Sleep on a relatively firm mattress and prop your head up with pillows; take care not to raise the head too far upwards as this will strain the neck.
- Lose weight, if you have weight to lose. Excess body weight places increased pressure on the back as well as contributing to a range of other health conditions, which can be very serious.
- Exercise regularly: exercise helps to maintain muscle tone and keeps the muscles and joints loose; people that exercise regularly also have greater flexibility around the joints. If you have chronic back pain, you should discuss an exercise programme with your GP; some sports may not be suitable. Activities such as walking and swimming are usually recommended for people with back problems.
- Lift in a safe way: when lifting, make sure your back is straight and your knees are bent. Do not try and lift objects that are too heavy as this can cause injuries.
- Wear sensible footwear: wearing high heels on a regular basis can place strain on the back as it affects the distribution of weight and the alignment of the hips, knees and ankles.
- Avoid stressful situations: stress can trigger back pain as well as contributing to a number of different health conditions
- Eat well: research has proven that eating foods that are high in Omega 3 benefits the joints and helps to prevent stiffness; examples of these foods include oily fish (including mackerel and salmon). Eating a healthy and balanced diet will boost your immune system and help to reduce the risk of developing illnesses and infections. Eating healthily will also help you to lose weight if you need to; once you have lost weight, eating a healthy diet will help you to maintain a healthy body weight.
If you are experiencing back pain, it is advisable to rest your back as much as possible until the symptoms subside; carrying on as normal may cause further damage. If symptoms don’t improve with medication, consult your GP.